GD completes design of unmanned submarine

Knifefish will allow Navy to detect and counteract mines on seafloor

General Dynamics has completed the critical design review for Knifefish, an unmanned underwater vehicle that will hunt mines, one month ahead of schedule. 

The company will now begin the development of the system hardware and software and will build three engineering development modules, the company said in a release.

Knifefish is a component of the Littoral Combat Ship mine countermeasure mission package, which provides the Navy with enhanced mine-hunting capabilities.

It is expected to become operational in 2017, and is the first heavyweight-class mainstream mine countermeasure that will address the Navy's need to detect and classify mines resting on the seafloor, as well as buried mines in high-clutter environments and areas with potential for mine burial, the company said.

It also gathers environmental data to provide intelligence support for other mine warfare systems.

"Knifefish is designed to be compatible with an open architecture platform, ensuring that the Navy's mission systems will keep pace with technology and continue to evolve to meet current and future mission requirements," said Lou Von Thaer, president of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. 

"The ease of the 'plug and play' integration with ship systems and mission modules allows for platform flexibility and quick reconfiguration of the whole mission package in response to the dynamic requirements the fleet will encounter day to day," he said.

The Knifefish links back to a contract that GD won in September 2011 to design and build it. Its team on the contract includes Bluefin Robotics, Ultra Electronic Ocean Systems, Oceaneering International, Metron, Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University, 3 Phoenix, General Dynamics Information Technology, and ASRC Research Technology Solutions.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a senior staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

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