July 21 (UPI) -- Hydroid Inc. has been awarded a $27.3 million contract modification for engineering and technical services for product improvements to the Mk18 series of unmanned underwater vehicles, the Department of Defense announced on Thursday.
The modification provides for the development, testing, and eventual installation of the upgrade to the Mk 18. The work will be conducted in Pocasset, Mass., with a projected completion date of November 2018 and no additional funding at this time.
The Mk 18 Kingfish unmanned underwater vehicles are designed for mine countermeasures work. Resembling a conventional torpedo, they are launched from ships or mid-sized rigid-hull boats. The Kingfish mounts a Small Synthetic Aperture Sonar Module that provides high resolution underwater scan imagery and is capable of detecting buried targets.
The Kingfish Mod 2 is nearly 4 meters long and weighs over 600 pounds. It is deployed and recovered using a small crane. It features better sonar, endurance and coverage abilities then the smaller Mk18 Swordfish model it serves alongside.
The Kingfish is capable of being deployed off of the Littoral Combat Ship as part of the LCS's countermine mission for coastal waters alongside the larger General Dynamics Knifefish UUV.