General Dynamics has received a $ 44 million contract from the US Navy to build 30 Knifefish series of underwater mine-detecting drones. This is only a trial batch so far, but the US military has no time to think. After a decade of work on a problematic project, it was decided to adopt what is, because the US Navy no longer has any alternative to these autonomous mine detectors.
The fight against naval mines has always been a vulnerable spot in the American navy. From World War II, when 15 of the 19 large lost US ships fell victim to mines, to the landing ship USS Tripoli, the cruiser USS Princeton and the frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts, which were blown up by mines during the Gulf War.
Therefore, the American admirals had to grudgingly accept the "Knifefish" in its current form, although back in 2016 the General Staff inspectors recommended closing the dysfunctional project. The main drawbacks of the drone are in its communication system with the operator and the poor performance of the sensors: the robot is able to identify the types of naval ammunition, but until recently it had great difficulties in finding them. Perhaps because the apparatus was not prepared as a separate type of equipment, but as a replacement for trained dolphins, whose work accuracy depends only on their mood.
Other notable details about Knifefish include the drone capable of operating in shallow water and ocean depths, mapping the seabed, and navigating independently. The drone uses broadband low-frequency sonars and can even detect mines buried in silt. He has no weapons, "Knifefish" only serves as a reconnaissance.