General Dynamics [GD] has completed a risk evaluation for the Navy’s Knifefish unmanned underwater vehicle designed to detect mines, the company said 

Knifefish is planned to deploy on Littoral Combat Ships and reach initial operational capability by 2017. The risk evaluation verified key components of the UUV system, including the hardware and critical areas of hardware and software integration, General Dynamics said.

The goal of the evaluation is to identify any potential problems while the program is still in its developmental phase.

A General Dynamics rendering of Knifefish.

“As an essential component of the Navy’s surface-ship mine countermeasure mission packages, Knifefish will help meet the constantly-evolving requirements of today’s fleet and greatly reduce risk to Navy personnel and ships,” said Thomas Kirchmaier, the president of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems.

The test regime included subsystem tests of key payload components, such as sonar and data recording, propulsion components and key software interfaces.

Knifefish is designed to swim into suspected minefields to look for threats, reducing the need to send the ship into risky areas. General Dynamics completed critical design review in April.

Knifefish is the first heavyweight-class mainstream mine countermeasure (MCM) UUV that will address the Navy’s need to reliably detect and classify mines resting on the seafloor and buried mines in high-clutter environments and areas with potential for mine burial, the company has said.

The Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded General Dynamics a contract to design and build Knifefish in September 2011.