Home » Budget Industry » Textron Division Wins $34 Million Contract For LCS Unmanned Minesweeper

Textron Division Wins $34 Million Contract For LCS Unmanned Minesweeper

Textron Systems Unmanned Systems' Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV). Textron Photo

Textron Systems Unmanned Systems’ Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV). Textron Photo

A division of Textron Systems has won a $33.8 million Navy contract for an unmanned surface vehicle designed to sweep for acoustic and magnetic mines from the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), company officials told USNI News last week.

The Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS previously known as the unmanned surface sweep system or USSS) is planned for the Mine Countermeasure (MCM) mission package planned for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

The USV is designed to methodically sweep a patch of ocean towing a cable designed to trigger so-called influence mines — mines that activate when they detect sounds or magnetic signatures that correspond to those of a large ship.

“It’s a cable that you tow behind the USV,” Rear Adm. John Ailes, former program manager for LCS Mission Modules, told USNI News in 2013.

“It provided both acoustic — making noise like a ship — and the magnetic signature of a ship… It tells the mines, ‘I’m a ship, you should blow up’.”

UISS is based on Textron Systems Unmanned Systems’ Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV) the company has been testing for years, Bill Leonard of Textron Systems Unmanned Systems told USNI News.

“We started doing all of our lessons learned and came up with a fourth generation of our CUSV,” Leonard said.
“We made improvements to the hull form, we made the payload bay larger. Got a new propulsion system and just various other improvements that we’ve learned over the five or six years we’ve been doing this and that translate over to the Navy program.”

Government Accountability Office Graphic

Government Accountability Office Graphic

Textron now has two years to finalize the development of the UISS before a 2017 test of the MCM package.

The contract has a potential value of $118 million, according to a Sept. 30 Pentagon contract award under the Textron unit’s old name, AAI Corp.

UISS is planned for the third increment of the MCM package.

The first increment of the MCM package — designed to find and neutralize less complex but more plentiful contact mines — is slated to be tested onboard USS Independence (LCS-2) next year.

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Categories: Budget Industry, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute.
He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.

  • Secundius

    I guess the Israeli’s wanted to many dollars for their systems design.

  • Steve Skubinna

    Great, so now they finally award the contract for the mine sweeping system. This LCS is a gold plated turkey incapable for fully performing any of the three roles it was designed for.

    God help us if we ever have to fight a First World power.

  • Jon

    What are we supposed to do for MCM capability in the years till all these various programs are in service and working to spec? If they ever work to spec. How do you have a navy, without a mine warfare capability?

    They’ve already retired and scrapped the Osprey mine hunters, and are taking the Avengers out of service. The system for moored contact mines isn’t going to be tested till next year, and the system for acoustic mines till 2017. With a world of difference between “tested”, “approved”, and “fielded”. By the time they have a minimal mine warfare capability on the LCS, the initial hulls will be halfway through their lifecycle…

    • Rob C.

      They still have the Avenger Class MCM. Their wooden, but for most part in good shape. Aside from the exUSS Guardian, they should be available long enough till they finally start deploying UISS.

      • Jon

        MCM 1 (AVENGER) and MCM 2 (DEFENDER) already decommissioned (Sept, Oct), rest to follow. Not mothballed or transferred, already soliciting bids for scrapping. Ospreys all sold for scrap only, no resell allowed, didn’t even offer them to allies.

        • Rob C.

          Its stupid, the budget must be in terrible shape.

          • Jon

            Replacing proven, fully mission capable, purpose built hulls that cost $225 million with $750 million hulls with minimal/no mission capability could be one of the reasons why the budget is in terrible shape…