Tag Archives: LCS minesweeper

LCS may actually get their drone minesweeper, afterall

The idea behind the littoral combat ship program is that it would take the place of the aging de-fanged Oliver Hazard Perry-class FFs– which had their original missile batteries neutered– as well as the Navy’s mine countermeasure vessels.

While the first could be done through with the light armament (57mm Mk110, Sea-RAM, small arms) and embarked helicopters/UAVs coupled (hopefully) with some sort of modular towed array, the latter required a legit standoff minesweeping vehicle as an LCS, with their steel hulls, is less than ideal for that.

That’s where Textron comes in, producing a 40-foot semi-autonomous, diesel-powered, all-aluminum surface craft, rigged to tow the same sweep gear used by the MH-53 Sea Dragon helicopters and/or ROVs.

The company on Thursday announced the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) program, which is based on its Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV), has achieved a Milestone C decision. The decision allows the program to enter low-rate initial production (LRIP), with the Navy planning to award three UISS systems to Textron Systems under their existing contract.

The Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS), based on Textron’s CUSV. It tows the modified Mk-104 system acoustic generator and a magnetic minesweeping cable.

More from NAVSEA:

The Program Executive Officer for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) has granted Milestone C approval to the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) program. The decision clears the way for low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the system, PEO USC announced Feb. 26, 2020.

The Navy plans to exercise options for the procurement of three LRIP systems on the current Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract with UISS prime contractor Textron Systems.

Designed for the littoral combat ship (LCS) as part of the mine countermeasures mission package, the UISS consists of a mine countermeasures unmanned surface vehicle (USV) and a towed minesweeping payload for influence sweeping of magnetic, acoustic and magnetic/acoustic combination mine types. UISS can also be launched from vessels of opportunity or from shore.

Formal Developmental Testing and Operational Assessment of UISS took place off the coast of South Florida and successfully concluded in late November 2019. Testing included a series of end-to-end minesweeping missions against simulated mine targets using the Navy Instrumented Threat Targets training system.

LCS Detachment Sailors performed operations during Developmental Testing and Operational Assessment that included shore-based launch and retrieval of the system, command, and control, mission planning and post-mission analysis. The UISS USV also has completed initial integration tests with the LCS and vessels of opportunity.

Textron Systems was awarded an EMD contract in October 2014 for the UISS, based on its Common USV. The Navy exercised options for two additional vehicles in 2017, which were delivered in 2018 in support of the comprehensive Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle program that will leverage the UISS USV for missions that include minehunting and mine neutralization.

Textron is expected to begin the delivery of LRIP systems in fiscal 2021.

The Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) heads offshore at sunrise for an Operational Assessment mission off the coast of South Florida in November 2019.

The Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS), November 2019. 200226-N-IJ355-001

The nuts and bolts of the contract announcement:

AAI Corp. (doing business as Textron Systems), Hunt Valley, Maryland, is awarded a $21,795,236 fixed-price incentive modification to previously awarded contract N00024-14-C-6322 for low rate initial production for the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) Unmanned Surface Vehicle Program. Work will be performed in Hunt Valley, Maryland (70%), and Slidell, Louisiana (30%), and is expected to be completed by August 2021. The UISS will allow the littoral combat ship to perform its mine countermeasure sweep mission and will target acoustic, magnetic, and magnetic/acoustic combination mine types. The UISS program will satisfy the Navy’s need for a rapid, wide-area coverage mine clearance capability, required to neutralize magnetic/acoustic influence mines. UISS seeks to provide a high area coverage rate in a small, lightweight package with minimal impact on the host platform. Fiscal 2018 other procurement (Navy) and fiscal 2019 other procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $21,795,236 will be obligated at the time of the award. Funds in the amount of $7,950,616 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

In directly related news, Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24 mine hunting sonar completing initial in-water testing of a next-generation Deploy and Retrieval (D&R) payload. “Operated from the Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vessel (MCM USV), the AQS-24 D&R demonstrates the unmanned operations needed to perform a mine-hunting mission off the MCM Mission Package aboard the littoral combat ship (LCS).”

It looks pretty swag.

Navy gives LCS’s minesniffer a thumb’s up (finally)

The Navy last week announced the completion of developmental testing for Raytheon’s AN/AQS-20C mine-hunting sonar system at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division.

This thing:

For these things:

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 27, 2019) The Independence variant littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), left, USS Manchester (LCS 14), and USS Tulsa (LCS 16) are underway in formation in the eastern Pacific. Littoral combat ships are high-speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatants designed for operations in the littoral environment, yet fully capable of open ocean operations. As part of the surface fleet, LCS has the ability to counter and outpace evolving threats independently or within a network of surface combatants. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon Renfroe/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 27, 2019) The Independence variant littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), left, USS Manchester (LCS 14), and USS Tulsa (LCS 16) are underway in formation in the eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon Renfroe/Released)

The presser:

The AQS-20C is the next generation of the AN/AQS-20 system designed to be incorporated into the Littoral Combat Ship Mine Countermeasures Mission Package. The system consists of four sonar arrays: two side-looking arrays; a gap-filler sonar array; and a forward-looking sonar array providing simultaneous detection, localization, and classification of bottom mines, close-tethered moored mines, and volume-moored mines.

The system delivers high-definition images of bottom mines, providing the operator with both range and contrast data that combine to form a three-dimensional image during post-mission analysis to aid in mine identification.

Developmental testing verifies that a system’s design meets all technical specifications and that all contract requirements have been met. During testing the Raytheon-developed towed sonar sensor conducted 12 underway missions in various operational modes and at different depths at four separate NSWC PCD test ranges. The missions were conducted aboard the test vessel M/V Patriot.

The AQS-20C will now be integrated with and deployed from the Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MCM USV), a long-endurance, semi-autonomous, diesel-powered, all-aluminum surface craft that supports the employment of various mine countermeasure payloads. The MCM USV can be launched and recovered by the LCS, from other vessels of opportunity or from shore sites to provide minesweeping, mine-hunting, and mine neutralization capabilities. The MCM USV is currently undergoing developmental testing as a component of the Unmanned Influence Sweep System at the South Florida Test Facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Test results will now undergo scoring and performance assessment leading up to a final developmental testing report that is expected to be completed in the spring. Findings from this report will be used for future performance improvements of the system.

Remote Mine Sweeper Robot for LCS

From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs (http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64430)

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The remote minehunting system (RMS), a critical component of the mine countermeasures mission package for the littoral combat ship class, completed the first phase of reliability testing Nov. 22, at the Lockheed Martin facilities off the coast of Palm Beach, Fla.

The RMS is a combination of the remote multi-mission vehicle (RMMV), coupled with the towed AN/AQS-20A mine-hunting sonar system.

The RMS, which will provide an off-board mine reconnaissance capability, successfully completed more than 500 hours of offshore, in-water testing, including line-of-sight and over-the-horizon communications checks and full exercise of vehicle control, mobility, maneuvering, and sonar towing capability. Completed six-weeks early, the tests validated reliability and maintainability improvements made to the baseline vehicle.

“Initial analysis of the data indicates that we have met or surpassed all testing and program objectives and we obtained the required data needed to proceed to the next phase,” said Steve Lose, program manager for the Remote Minehunting System program.

The RMS is designed to conduct rapid reconnaissance of bottom and moored mines from the deep-water region to the very shallow water region. The RMS will aid in the determination of the presence of mines and help identify safe routes or operating areas around potential minefields.

The RMS is a combination of the remote multi-mission vehicle (RMMV), coupled with the towed AN/AQS-20A mine-hunting sonar system. The RMMV is an unmanned, autonomous, semi-submersible, high endurance, low-visibility system that will be operated and maintained from the LCS. The vehicle has self-contained control, propulsion, power, and navigation. The AN/AQS-20A sonar system is designed to detect, classify, and localize mine-like contacts and identify bottom mines.

The program will now begin preparing for the next phase of reliability testing, scheduled to commence in third-quarter of fiscal year 2012. RMS will also be an integral part of ongoing LCS mine countermeasures mission package developmental testing scheduled for first-quarter of fiscal year 2012.

PEO LCS, an affiliated Program Executive Office of Naval Sea Systems Command, provides a single Program Executive responsible for acquiring and sustaining mission capabilities of the littoral combat ship class, beginning with procurement, and ending with fleet employment and sustainment. The combined capability of LCS and LCS mission systems is designed to dominate the littoral battle space and provide U.S. forces with assured access to coastal areas.

For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.