USVs, UUVs Progressing for Littoral Combat Ships

February 14, 2013 - via Seapower Magazine

MCLEAN, Va. — The Navy plans to award a development contract for the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS), a mine countermeasures (MCM) system that includes an unmanned surface vehicle (USV), during the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

Captain Duane Ashton, program manager for unmanned maritime systems for the Program Executive Office, Littoral Combat Ships, said the UISS request for proposals was issued in December. Delivery of the first UISS is planned for 2018.

Speaking Feb. 14 at the “Unmanned Systems Program Review 2013,” a conference of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Ashton described a few of the USV and unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) systems progressing through the acquisition process which, the Navy hopes, will be operated by its fleet of Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs).

A possible USV system being considered is the Multifunction MCM USV, described as a USV that will be able to detect, classify, identify, neutralize, and sweep mines in a single pass. Ashton envisions this USV being developed in four increments, or “flights.”

In January, the Critical Design Review for the Knifefish UUV was completed, Ashton said. The Navy is planning for one system — with two UUVs — in each of the 24 MCM mission packages being planned for the LCS fleet. He said the Knifefish will be introduced in Increment 3 of the MCM package.

Ashton also is in charge of developing the Large-Diameter UUV (LDUUV), with the Analysis of Alternatives approaching completion. He said the effort will be established as a program this year, with the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase scheduled for 2015 and testing for 2018.

Ashton said the LDUUV will be deployable from the LCS, submarines and shore facilities. It will be used for antisubmarine warfare; acoustic intelligence collection; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and payload development. Possible future uses include mine countermeasures and offensive operations. “I want to try to keep [the LDUUV] as simple as I can,” Ashton said, preferring to incrementally adding new mission capabilities.

Also in development is the Persistent Littoral Undersea Surveillance (PLUS), a network of UUVs and a command center. The current concept of PLUS includes four REMUS UUVs and five sea gliders.

External link: http://www.seapowermagazine.org/stories/20130214-ashton-auvsi.html

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Author:Richard Burgess

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