The Navy on Tuesday said it successfully completed underwater explosion shock testing (UNDEX) for its newest unmanned minesweeper, the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS).

The UISS is an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) that will allow the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) to perform a mine countermeasure sweep mission to target acoustic, magnetic, and magnetic/acoustic combination mines. It aims to provide a high area coverage in a small package with minimal impact on the host vessel.

The Textron [TXT] UISS consists of a mine countermeasures (MCM) USV towing a minesweeping payload for sweeping of acoustic and magnetic mines.

While the UISS is expected to be hosted from LCSs, it can also operate off of vessels of opportunity or from the shore.

The MCM USV aims to ultimately replace the aging Avenger-class minesweeping ships and MH-53Es Sea Dragon helicopters.

This latest shock testing occurred at Aberdeen Test Center and Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock, Md., with participation by Textron and NSWC Panama City. 

The Navy said this series of shock trials is a key part of testing the UISS survivability and ability to execute its mission in hazardous environments.

“The UISS UNDEX test demonstrates the survivability of the MCM USV. This brings us one step closer to delivering the MCM mission package to the fleet,” LCS Mission Modules Program Manager, Capt. Godfrey Weekes, said in a statement.

The Navy noted that previously the UISS program finished shipboard Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) onboard the USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) in June 2021 and Cyber IOT&E in September 2021. The service noted that, therefore, the program is on schedule to reach Initial Operating Capability in 2022.

“Completion of these tests showcased the capability and resiliency of the MCM USV and is a critical milestone for the program. The MCM USV is the centerpiece of the MCM mission package, and this test demonstrates the final steps we’re taking for MCM mission package IOT&E and fielding,” Weekes added.

The Navy noted that beyond minesweeping the MCM USV will use modular payloads for other MCM capabilities. It is currently undergoing integration testing with the Raytheon Technologies [RTX] AQS-20C towed minehunting sonar to detect, identify, classify and localize volume and bottom mine-like objects.

In 2019 the Navy completed developmental testing of the AQS-20C. At the time, the service said the sonar system would then be integrated with a deployment from the MCM USV (Defense Daly, March 1, 2019).