UISS contract award was delayed by problems during developmental testing

By Justin Katz / March 3, 2020 at 9:52 AM

A several-months delay in the milestone C decision for a new unmanned surface vessel focused on minesweeping was caused by problems found during developmental testing, according to a Navy spokesman.

"Principally the Navy corrected tow cable winch calibration issues and implemented various software updates that had been identified during testing," Alan Baribeau told Inside Defense Monday.

"The implemented fixes were properly verified and the OA was successfully completed in seven successive days of testing. The milestone C decision was able to be informed by the results of the OA, with the improvements, as well as the prior [developmental testing] results," he continued.

The service awarded Textron a low-rate initial production contract last week for the Unmanned Influence Sweep System, a mine countermeasures system consisting of a USV and a magnetic/acoustic minesweeping module.

The milestone C decision -- an acquisition mile marker allowing a program to begin initial production -- was originally scheduled for fiscal year 2018. The schedule was delayed to FY-19 after Hurricane Michael disrupted testing efforts, Inside Defense reported.

By clearing UISS to begin low-rate initial production, the service has also cleared the way for the Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vessel to compete a full-rate production contract later this year. The MCM USV is slated to utilize the same vessel as UISS, Textron's Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle.