The U.S. Navy has been testing the new anti-mine unmanned surface vehicle called Unmanned Influence Sweep System, or UISS, aboard Military Sealift Command’s expeditionary sea base, USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (T-ESB 4), into the Chesapeake Bay.
The new unmanned surface vehicle (USV) is a mine counter measure platform and the evolution was the first time a USV has been launched and recovered by a Military Sealift Command ship, according to a Navy news release.
The UISS employs the influence sweep system, which is designed for sweeping of magnetic, acoustic, and magnetic/acoustic combination mine-types. The system tows the modified Mk-104 system acoustic generator and a magnetic minesweeping cable.
The USV will support minehunting operations, including detection, identification, classification and localization of volume and bottom mine-like contacts.
The UISS system is capable of being launched and recovered by the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), from other Vessels of Opportunity (VOO), or from shore sites.
The unmanned surface vehicle already has undergone in-water trials with Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships and demonstrated its performance with multiple payload packages including side-scan sonar, mine neutralisation, nonlethal weapons, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Sea mines pose a significant threat to U.S., allied and commercial shipping, particularly in navigation choke points and transit lanes. With the sweep payload installed, USV will satisfy the U.S. Navy’s need for a long duration, organic (off-board) minesweeping capability. The use of USVs also increases the safety factor for the Sailors employing the systems by taking them out of the mine field.