U.S. Navy's “Knifefish” Completes Acceptance Testing
General Dynamics has successfully completed all stages of formal sea acceptance testing of Knifefish, the U.S. Navy’s Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV).
Knifefish is intended for deployment from the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships and other Navy vessels. It is designed to reduce risk to personnel by operating as an off-board sensor while the host ship stays outside the minefield boundaries.
The Knifefish is a torpedo-shaped robot 19 feet (5.8 meters) in length and 21 inches (0.53 meters) in diameter, with an operational weight of 1,700 pounds (770 kilograms). It is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which allows it to operate for up to 16 hours on pre-programmed search missions. Unlike other autonomous vehicles that tow a sonar, Knifefish has a sonar built into its body.
The tests were conducted off the coast of Boston using Navy mine test targets and included a variety of undersea, operational scenarios in multiple simulated mine fields. The tests proved that Knifefish can detect, classify and identify undersea mines in high-clutter environments.
The General Dynamics Knifefish team also successfully completed initial Navy Fleet operator training as part of the transition into the next stage of testing.
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.