The US Navy has recently given General Dynamics the green light for placing the Knifefish drone system into production. It has been in development for a couple of years now and even faced cancellation at some time. However, it is on its way to production and will be deployed on the Littoral Combat Ships. The news comes at a time when Iran is being accused of mining the Persian Gulf.
The Navy gave the go-ahead for Knifefish on 23 August for low rate initial production. The Department of Defense further announced a $44 million LRIP contract on 26 August. They are not only cost-effective but also easily deployable and possess the potential of damaging or even sinking ships that are considered to be the most sophisticated ones. The Knifefish is capable of operating independently in shallow ocean water and is launched and recovered from the LCS or craft or ship of opportunity.
The Navy intends to use the Knifefish instead of marine mammals, such as dolphins and sea lions, which are currently used to detect mines on the ocean floor. The drone is equipped with automated target recognition software technology as well.