Warship Technology: May 2020
Designed for the littoral combat ship (LCS) as part of the vessel’s mine countermeasures mission package, the UISS consists of a mine countermeasures unmanned surface vehicle (USV) and a towed minesweeping payload for influence sweeping of magnetic, acoustic and magnetic/acoustic combination mine types. The UISS can also be launched from vessels of opportunity or from shore.
Formal developmental testing and operational assessment of the UISS took place off the coast of South Florida and successfully concluded in late November 2019. Testing included a series of end-to-end minesweeping missions against simulated mine targets using the US Navy’s instrumented threat targets training system
LCS detachment sailors undertook operations during developmental testing and operational assessment that included shore-based launch and retrieval of the system, command and control, mission planning and post-mission analysis. The UISS USV also has completed initial integration tests with the LCS and vessels of opportunity.
The US Navy describes the UISS as a ‘semi-autonomous, high-endurance unmanned magnetic and acoustic surface sweep.’ The offboard component consists of the USV, a sweep system, command and control equipment, and a government-furnished multi-vehicle communication system. The onboard component aboard the LCS will consist of operator interface software integrated into the mission package computing environment, a man-portable control unit, and a stowage cradle.
According to the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the UISS vehicle has a track-following navigation capability to transit from the launch position to the minefield and back to the planned rendezvous with the host platform (including navigation along the planned sweep pattern until the mission is complete); an endurance sufficient for transit to and from the minefield, sweep system engagement, sweeping the assigned section of the minefield, and a loiter capability; situational awareness and system monitoring necessary to support safe operation and obstacle avoidance; and offboard communications including interfaces for line-of-sight, over-the-horizon and GPS.