U.S. Navy Awards Knifefish UUV Retrofit Contract to General Dynamics

The retrofit will enable Knifefish to operate at deeper depths, identify more complex target environments, provide more precise localization, and reduce risk to personnel by operating within minefields as an off-board sensor By DA Reporter / 25 Jun 2021
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General Dynamics Mission Systems has been awarded a $72.8 million contract from the U.S. Navy to retrofit five Block 0 Knifefish surface mine countermeasure unmanned underwater vehicle (SMCM UUV) systems, which comprises 10 Knifefish SMCM vehicles. 

The retrofit requirements will enhance Knifefish operations at deeper depths, identify more complex target environments and provide more precise localization. 

Once complete, all 10 Knifefish Block 0 UUVs will be upgraded with the new requirements integrated and re-delivered in the Block 1 configuration.

Knifefish SMCM is a medium-class mine countermeasure UUV intended for deployment from the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships and other Navy vessels of opportunity. Risk is reduced to personnel by the Knifefish SMCM operating within minefields as an off-board sensor while the host ship stays outside the minefield boundaries.

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. 

“General Dynamics Mission Systems is honored to extend our support to the U.S. Navy with this increased capability on all five Knifefish SMCM systems,” said Carlo Zaffanella, vice president and general manager at General Dynamics Mission Systems. 

“We are proud to provide the Navy with advanced, state-of-the-art unmanned underwater vehicles, and we are dedicated to delivering this technology safely and quickly to our sailors.”

The Knifefish SMCM UUV is based on the General Dynamics Bluefin Robotics Bluefin-21 deep-water autonomous undersea vehicle. The team is currently delivering the initial Block 0 units on the predecessor Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract. 

The UUVs are designed and developed out of General Dynamics Mission Systems’ Quincy, Massachusetts and McLeansville, North Carolina facilities, and manufactured out of the company’s Taunton, Massachusetts facility. 

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