Home Americas US Navy’s unmanned minesweeping system undergoes explosive trials

US Navy’s unmanned minesweeping system undergoes explosive trials

UISS MCM system shock trials
UISS undergoes an underwater explosion shock test at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy says it has completed underwater explosion (UNDEX) shock testing on the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS), a component of the navy’s suite of mine countermeasure technologies.

Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) announced the successful completion of the trials as the system continues on its path to achieving initial operational capability in 2022.

The test was conducted by the Aberdeen Test Center and Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock with assistance from Textron and NSWC Panama City. The series of shock trials is key for testing the survivability of UISS and its ability to execute its mission in hazardous environments.

Capable of being hosted from littoral combat ships (LCS), operated from shore, or vessels of opportunity, UISS provides acoustic and magnetic minesweeping coupled with the unmanned, semi-autonomous, diesel-powered, aluminum-hulled mine countermeasures unmanned surface vehicle (MCM USV).

The system obtained the US Navy’s approval for low-rate initial production in February 2020.

Photo: Textron

“The UISS UNDEX test demonstrates the survivability of the MCM USV,” said LCS Mission Modules Program Manager Capt. Godfrey “Gus” Weekes. “This brings us one step closer to delivering the MCM mission package to the fleet.”

The program completed shipboard initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) onboard USS Cincinnati (LCS 20) in June 2021 and Cyber IOT&E in September 2021, ensuring the program is on schedule to achieve initial operating capability in 2022.

“Completion of these tests showcased the capability and resiliency of the MCM USV, and is a critical milestone for the program,” said Capt. Weekes. “The MCM USV is the centerpiece of the MCM mission package, and this test demonstrates the final steps we’re taking for MCM mission package IOT&E and fielding.”

In addition to minesweeping capability, the MCM USV will employ modular payloads to bring additional MCM capabilities to the fleet.

The MCM USV is currently undergoing integration testing of the AQS-20C towed minehunting sonar, which provides detection, identification, classification, and localization of volume and bottom mine-like objects. The MCM USV is an integral part of the MCM mission package, which will replace the Navy’s aging Avenger-class minesweeping ships and MH-53Es Sea Dragon helicopters.