The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) granted the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) Milestone C, setting up low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the system, the office said Wednesday.
The service said now it plans to exercise options to procure three LRIP systems using the current Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract with UISS prime contractor Textron [TXT].
LRIP is expected to start in fiscal year (FY) 2021.
The Navy awarded Textron the EMD contract in 2014, based on the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV). It previously exercised options for two vehicles in 2017 that were delivered in 2018 to support the comprehensive Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vehicle program that will use UISS for minehunting and mine neutralization.
Textron noted this is the first Navy USV to reach Milestone C.
“The Textron and U.S. Navy teams have worked diligently to reach this Milestone C decision. We recognize the time on the water and dedication of the testing teams which enabled us to enter this phase of the program,” Wayne Prender, Senior Vice President of Applied Technologies and Advanced Programs at Textron, said in a statement.
UISS is designed as part of the mine countermeasures (MCM) mission package for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). UISS is made of an MCM USV as well as a towed minesweeping payload for influence sweeping of magnetic, acoustic and magnetic/acoustic combination mines. The UISS previously completed initial integration tests with both LCS and vessels of opportunity and can now be launched from both types of vessels or shore.
Textron said UISS is the Navy’s first USV program of record and allows for interchangeable payloads.
UISS previously underwent formal developmental testing and operational assessment off the coast of South Florida, finishing in November 2019. That testing included a set of end-to-end minesweeping missions against simulated target mines using a training system. LCS sailors performed the operations during testing like shore-based launch and retrieval, command and control, mission planning and post-mission analysis.
Textron said production will occur at its Hunt Valley, Md., and New Orleans facilities.