The Defense Department‘s inspector general has recommended the U.S. Navy assess whether to continue or cancel the development of the Knifefish surface mine countermeasure unmanned undersea vehicle.
DoD IG said Tuesday the requirements developers of Knifefish and the Littoral Combat Ship program — Expeditionary Warfare Division N95 and Surface Warfare Division N96, respectively — did not coordinate to establish Knifefish capability requirements.
Lack of coordination led to engineering change proposals to redesign Knifefish and that move added $2.3 million to program costs, the IG found.
The Knifefish program office compressed developmental test schedules and combined test events due to lack of funds which might lead to uncorrected design problems, according to the audit report.
The report stated the Navy has yet to demonstrate Knifefish’s capacity to detect, classify and identify bottom and buried mines and failure to meet minimum requirements could result to program reassessment or modification of production increments.
The IG noted Knifefish might not be ready for initial production decision in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.
Knifefish’s program office has received $91 million out of an estimated $842.5 million budget to cover research, development, test, evaluation, procurement, operational and maintenance efforts.
DoD IG asked the directors of Expeditionary Warfare Division N95 and Surface Warfare Division N96 to jointly develop Knifefish capability requirements associated with the communication interface, launch and recovery operations between Knifefish and LCS.
The IG also recommended for the director of Expeditionary Warfare Division N95 to coordinate with the LCS program executive officer to determine whether to continue the development of Knifefish or use the remaining $751.5 million program funds for other purposes.
Knifefish is designed to serve as a self-propelled, untethered and autonomous UUV that will be launched and recovered from LCS.