Anduril Industries will develop three Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (XL-AUVs) for the Royal Australian Navy.
The three-year, 140 million Australian dollars ($100 million) co-funded program will see long-endurance AUVs integrated with multi-mission payloads for military and non-military missions such as “advanced intelligence, infrastructure inspection, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting,” the company stated.
The program’s “ambitious” delivery schedule includes capability assessment and prototyping.
A big step forward for Navy’s undersea capability. #AusNavy and @DefenceScience have entered into a contract with Anduril Australia, to design and manufacture Extra Large Autonomous Underwater Vehicles in Australia. #DefenceIndustry pic.twitter.com/S3GJX0P3QM
— Royal Australian Navy (@Australian_Navy) May 7, 2022
Induction in Five Years
Citing CEO David Goodrich, Australian Defence Business Review reported that the company could commence production in four years, with serial production and induction in five.
The unmanned vessels will be designed, developed, and manufactured in Australia.
“We’re a software-first company,” Goodrich told the outlet. “The XL-AUV will be inexpensive and attritable, and it will be able to be updated on a regular basis to give it more flexibility.”
He added that the vessel cost, depending on configuration, would be a fraction of other competitors and manned submarines.
According to Breaking Defense, the program’s low production cost and short timeline are possible because the vessels will be “partially 3-D printed.”
To Complement Manned Fleet
The California-based company stated that the acquisition of Boston startup Dive Technologies in February will “expand its suite of autonomous systems, extend its unmanned capabilities to the undersea domain, and significantly accelerate the company’s strategic growth.”
“This capability would potentially complement and enhance the agility and potency of the Navy’s current submarine and surface combatant force in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said in a press release.
“The vessels would also give the Australian Defence Force innovative mission options while presenting a disruptive and difficult undersea problem for any adversary.”