Navy moves to low-rate initial production of minehunting unmanned surface vessel

March 2, 2020
UISS will target acoustic, magnetic, and magnetic-acoustic combination mines to neutralize submerged ocean mine threats in a lightweight package.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Navy unmanned surface vessel (USV) experts are making one of the first low-quantity production purchases of quickly deployable fast-moving unmanned boats for the littoral combat ship (LCS) to clear large ocean areas of sea mines that could threaten aircraft carrier battle groups, commercial ship traffic, and other ocean assets.

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command announced a $21.8 million order Friday to the Textron Systems Corp. Unmanned Systems segment in Hunt Valley, Md., for low rate initial production (LRIP) of the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) unmanned patrol boat.

The UISS is one of the minehunting systems that will enable the LCS to perform mine warfare sweep missions. UISS will target acoustic, magnetic, and magnetic and acoustic combination mine types only. The UISS program provides rapid wide-area mine clearance to neutralize magnetic and acoustic sea mines in a small, lightweight package.

LRIP describes the phase of initial, small-quantity production of military weapons and platforms. LRIP gives the Navy time to determine if the UISS performs to requirements before agreeing to mass-production contracts.

Related: U.S. Navy test makes major breakthrough in using unmanned surface vessels for ocean mine hunting

The UISS uses the Textron Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV), and will travel aboard the LCS to deploy as necessary to detect, pinpoint, and trigger explosive sea mines hidden under the surface to damage or destroy surface warships or commercial shipping.

The system consists of the CUSV unmanned power boat that tows an acoustic and magnetic minesweep system that emits acoustic and magnetic signals that provide a false signature that triggers mines. The surface vessel while operating will be far enough away so that it will not be damaged by a detonating mine, Navy officials say.

The UISS uses the Navy's Multiple Vehicle Communications System (MVCS) aboard the LCS, which handles communications between the LCS surface ship and different mission packages, including the UISS, that involve mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare.

For the MVCS the Navy is using the AB3100H embedded computer from Astronics Ballard Technology in Everett, Wash. The AB3100H rugged computer is part of the company's AB3000 line of small, lightweight embedded computers with the Intel E680T processor, MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429/708/717 interfaces, Ethernet, USB, video, audio, and PMC expansion.

Related: Not just for the Navy: unmanned surface vessels (USVs) in wide use for surveillance at NOAA

The AB3000 series from Astronics Ballard Technology comes with factory-installed PCI mezzanine card (PMC) modules that enable designers to add an Ethernet switch, synchronous and asynchronous serial interfaces, and isolated double-throw relays.

The Textron CUSV and its unmanned maritime command and control station use a modular architecture that accommodates platform reconfiguration and interchangeable payloads.

This CUSV unmanned boat is capable of executing mine warfare; anti-submarine warfare; communications relay; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; anti-surface warfare; and UAS/UUV launch and recovery missions.

On this order Textron will do the work in Hunt Valley, Md., and Slidell, La., and should be finished by August 2021. For more information contact Textron Unmanned Systems online at, Astronics Ballard Technology at, or Naval Sea Systems Command at

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