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US Navy completes testing of a mine countermeasures USV.

| 2021

According to information published by the Naval Sea Systems Command on August 23, 2021, the Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC) has completed the ship-based Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) for the Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) program onboard the littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Manchester (LCS 14) off of the California coast.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001Mine countermeasures unmanned surface vehicle (MCM USV) and a towed minesweeping payload (Picture source: Naval Sea Systems Command)

The ship-based IOT&E, conducted in May and June, included end-to-end minesweeping missions versus Navy Instrumented Threat Targets (NAVITTARs) and demonstrated UISS supportability and integration with the LCS seaframe. The IOT&E team conducted pier side and underway launch and recovery, maintainability demonstrations, and end-to-end mission execution in support of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and delivery of capability to the Fleet.

Designed for the LCS as part of the mine countermeasures mission package, the UISS consists of a mine countermeasures unmanned surface vehicle (MCM USV) and a towed minesweeping payload for influence sweeping of magnetic, acoustic, and magnetic/acoustic combination mines. UISS can also be launched from vessels of opportunity or from shore.

LCS MCM sailors performed all operations during the UISS IOT&E events, including shore- and ship-based launch and retrieval, command and control, system maintenance, mission planning and post-mission analysis. Pending data analysis and concurrence of operational effectiveness and suitability, the next phase will be approval by PMS420 for UISS to proceed to IOC.

USS Manchester (LCS-14) is an Independence-class littoral combat ship in the United States Navy. She is the second ship to be named for Manchester, New Hampshire.

The ship's keel was laid on 29 June 2015, at Mobile, Alabama. Manchester was christened on 7 May 2016 and she was launched on 12 May 2016, then was commissioned on 26 May 2018. She is assigned to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One.

The USS Manchester has a length of 127.4 m, a beam of 31.6 m, a draft of 4.27 m, and a displacement of 3,104 tons. The ship is powered by two Rolls-Royce gas turbines, two diesel engines, and four waterjets. She can reach a top speed of 47 knots (87 km/h) with a maximum cruising range of 4,300 nautical miles (8,000 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h).

The USS Manchester is armed with one BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm naval gun, four .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns (2 aft, 11 cell missile launcher Evolved SeaRAM surface-to-air missiles. She has a flight deck and hangar to accommodate two MH-60R/S Seahawk naval helicopters and one MQ-8 Fire Scout.

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