General Dynamics Mission Systems’ Knifefish surface mine countermeasure unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) has achieved Milestone C, providing approval for the system to enter into low-rate initial production (LRIP). On August 26, the Department of Defense announced an award of $44.6 million for the procurement of five Knifefish systems (10 total UUVs) plus support equipment as part of the LRIP.
Knifefish is a medium-class mine countermeasure UUV intended for deployment from the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and other Navy vessels of opportunity. Knifefish will reduce risk to personnel by operating in the minefield as an off-board sensor while the host ship stays outside the minefield boundaries.
“We are extremely proud to be the first mine countermeasure UUV program to achieve Milestone C,” said Carlo Zaffanella, vice president and general manager of Maritime and Strategic Systems at General Dynamics Mission Systems. “We have partnered with the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Unmanned and Small Combatants to ensure the Knifefish program is ready to protect our sailors by providing this state-of-the art UUV mine countermeasure capability.”
Milestone C is a Milestone Decision Authority-led review at the end of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase of the Defense acquisition process. Its purpose is to make a recommendation or seek approval to enter the Production and Deployment Phase.
General Dynamics Mission Systems is the prime contractor for the Knifefish program. The company designed the tactical UUV using an open architecture concept that can be quickly and efficiently modified to accommodate a wide range of missions. The Knifefish UUV is based on the General Dynamics Bluefin Robotics Bluefin-21 deep-water Autonomous Undersea Vehicle.