The Knifefish model is a specialized Bluefin-21 UUV, and will be developed for the Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Underwater Vehicle program. Bluefin is under subcontract (#N00173-10-C-6008) withGeneral Dynamics (News - Alert) Advanced Information Systems, and will leverage and deliver the finished system to the NRL within the next few months.
Bluefin just completed the preliminary design review of the Knifefish model earlier this month, and is positive about the outcome.
“We are pleased that we are able to easily adapt the Knifefish design for NRL’s specific needs,” said Bluefin’s president and CEO, David P. Kelly. “This is just another example of how the UUV technology is maturing into a reliable, robust platform option for advancing new science and capability.”
The NRL’s UUV will have the standard features of the original Knifefish model, but will include two-way iridium communications, specialized sensors, and better modifications for the unit’s acoustic payload.
The robotic vehicle will be used to help the NRL advance its low-frequency broadband payload technology.
The program’s broader goal is to advance basic and applied research in undersea warfare.
“The science made possible with this vehicle will advance the nation’s mine-hunting capabilities that can be incorporated into future generations of UUVS,” said the acting head of the NRL’s Physical Acoustics Branch, Dr. Brian Houston. “Science and defense programs are now mutually benefitting from the investments made in the UUV technology. Bluefin has been a key contributor to that effort with the Reliant vehicle, their commercial systems, Knifefish, and now with our new UUV.”
The NRL and Bluefin Robotics have been working together closely for the past 10 years to develop the Reliant vehicle, a Bluefin-21 used as a science technology system for the original LFBB development.
This new specialized project is an extension of the companies’ already strong business relationship.