FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. Navy has picked General Dynamics to design and build an unmanned, underwater mine countermeasure vehicle.
The Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Underwater Vehicle system will be part of the Littoral Combat Ship Mine Warfare mission package.
The contract to the General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems team has a maximum potential value of $86.7 million for one engineering development model and five low-rate initial production systems if all options are exercised.
The SMCM UUV system will allow the Navy to, in a single pass, reliably detect and identify mines in high-clutter underwater environments, including mines that are suspended in the ocean, resting on the sea floor or buried. Additionally, it will gather environmental data that can provide intelligence support for other mine warfare systems.
"General Dynamics continues to deliver affordable, flexible solutions that meet the Navy's vision for open architecture," said Lou Von Thaer, president of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. "Commanders and sailors will now have the most capable and advanced system available to detect, avoid and defeat mine threats."
General Dynamics said it will use an open systems architecture approach to ensure the SMCM UUV will have the flexibility to be integrated into missions on Littoral Combat Ships, as well as other ship types.
The Navy's evolving and dynamic mission requirements call for a design that allows "plug-and-play" integration for ship's systems and mission modules. These interchangeable packages of specialized equipment allow the Navy to quickly reconfigure a ship for changing mission requirements.
The General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems team includes Bluefin Robotics, Quincy, Mass.; Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems, Braintree, Mass.; and Oceaneering International, Houston.