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U.S. Navy finishes test of first LCS-based unmanned mine detection system

The USS Manchester, pictured transiting the San Francisco Bay in October 2018, recently completed testing of an unmanned mine detection system designed for littoral combat ships. File Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse Monford/U.S. Navy
The USS Manchester, pictured transiting the San Francisco Bay in October 2018, recently completed testing of an unmanned mine detection system designed for littoral combat ships. File Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse Monford/U.S. Navy

Aug. 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has finished a test of its first littoral combat ship-based unmanned mine detection system, the branch announced on Monday.

The Unmanned Influence Sweep System designed for the LCS has a mine countermeasures unmanned surface vehicle, or MCM USV, and a towed minesweeping payload to sweep magnetic or acoustic mines, the Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants said in a press release.

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LCS MCM sailors completed the initial operational test and evaluation for the UISS aboard the littoral combat ship USS Manchester off the California coast in May and June.

The IOT&E team conducted testing and evaluation pier side, underway launch and recovery, and "end-end mission execution" in support of Initial Operational Capability, officials said.

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The IOT&E included "end-to-end minesweeping missions versus Navy Instrumented Threat Targets," and demonstrated UISS "supportability and integration" with the ship's design, they said.

"Completion of this operational test event achieves a major milestone for the UISS Program of Record, and demonstrates continued progress to fielding the full capability of the MCM Mission Package aboard LCS," Capt. Godfrey "Gus" Weekes, LCS Mission Modules program manager, said in the press release.

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"The test event demonstrated for the first time both the capability and sustainability of a minesweeping capability using an unmanned system from an LCS in an operationally realistic environment. I want to highlight the adaptability and dedication of the test teams across many organizations in executing these critical tests despite the challenges imposed by COVID-19," Weekes said.

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Last week, the U.S. Navy announced that sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6 deployed two unmanned undersea vehicles from inflatable boats out of amphibious ship USS Arlington to detect underwater mines and destroy them during its Large Scale Exercise 2021.

In September 2019, the U.S. Navy tested unmanned underwater vehicles to conduct mine hunting in an Arctic exercise.

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