The Insider

Textron: Minesweeping program to reach milestone C this summer

By Justin Katz  
January 11, 2018 at 1:57 PM

Textron Systems anticipates its Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) program will achieve milestone C by the end of fiscal year 2018, according to a company official.

"We're beginning builders trials for that," Wayne Prender, vice president of control and surface systems at Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, told Inside the Navy yesterday. "We intend on achieving milestone C this year."

UISS is comprised of Textron's Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle and a minesweeping payload. Textron was awarded a contract to produce two pilot line units last year, which will be delivered this year. Those units will also incorporate the AQS-20 and AQS-24 minehunting payloads.

Separately, the company announced this week that it signed a cooperative research and development agreement with the Navy to develop new surface warfare packages.

The agreement will be looking at "the mine countermeasure mission market, [and] also outside of that market into other things that an [unmanned surface vehicle] can perform in surface warfare, lethal and non-lethal packages," Prender said.

CUSV is one of the Navy's two unmanned vehicle programs within the Littoral Combat Ship mine countermeasures effort. General Dynamics' Knifefish unmanned underwater vehicle is the other. Navy officials have previously described the two systems as "complementary."

"The USV goes fast and it can clear large areas of space in the bottom and volume," Howard Berkof, deputy program manager for unmanned maritime systems at Naval Sea Systems Command, told reporters last April. "The Knifefish as a UUV goes slow, so it's not going to be nearly as fast as the USV. But what the Knifefish UUV does, it really gets those bottom and buried mines in high clutter environments using its [low-frequency broadband sonar] technology, which adds a great capability."