Knifefish UUV is being developed by General Dynamics Mission Systems and Bluefin Robotics for the US Navy

Introduce

The US Navy is accelerating the development of new technologies to shape future unmanned fleets. This is an ambitious development direction with the goal of maintaining America’s maritime dominance in the coming decades.

With such an approach, the US Navy is developing the Knifefish, an autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle, designed to be deployed from a littoral combat ship to detect bottom, volume and buried mines underwater. Volume mines are suspended at shallow depths and are designed to break the keels of ships passing over them.

Knifefish UUV
Knifefish UUV

Design

Knifefish UUV is based on Bluefin-21, a civilian UUV designed by the Quincy, Massachusetts-based company Bluefin Robotics.

Knifefish’s outward appearance resembled that of a torpedo. It measures 5.8m (19 ft) in length, 0.53m (21 in) in diameter, and an operating weight of 770 kg (1,700 lbs).

The Knifefish is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which allows it to operate for up to 16 hours on pre-programmed search missions.

It uses onboard synthetic aperture sonar to detect floating or buried naval mines, and can identify a wide variety of mines and mine-like objects using an onboard database and analytical computer. The Knifefish can then mark detected mines and record their locations in its database. The robot later uploads the data to its parent LCS, which destroys the mines.

Performance

The Knifefish is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which allows it to operate for up to 16 hours on pre-programmed search missions.

It uses onboard synthetic aperture sonar to detect floating or buried naval mines, and can identify a wide variety of mines and mine-like objects using an onboard database and analytical computer. The Knifefish can then mark detected mines and record their locations in its database. The robot later uploads the data to its parent LCS, which destroys the mines.

The UUV has an integrated GPS, radio-frequency, Iridium, and strobe antenna, and communicates with operators via radio frequency links, Iridium satellite communications, and acoustic communications systems.

The Knifefish may be modified to transmit its data in real-time, if the Navy considers such a capability necessary after the robot’s sea trials. Each LCS will be capable of operating two Knifefish UUVs, which will scan the seabed near the ship and reduce the risk of mine damage to the LCS itself.

Specifications

(Source: Wikipedia)

ManufacturerGeneral Dynamics Mission Systems
Bluefin Robotics
CountryUnited States
Year of creation2012 (initial unveiling)
TypeUnmanned underwater vehicle
PurposeMinesweeping

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