Australia has unveiled an early prototype of its “Ghost Shark” unmanned submarine for testing and experimentation.
A 2.8-ton “Dive-LD” autonomous submarine testbed arrived in the country recently, marking a significant milestone in the extra-large autonomous undersea vehicle (XL-AUV) program.
The testbed, which has a length of 5.6 meters (19 feet), can conduct autonomous missions at a depth of 6,000 meters (19,685 feet). It can stay underwater for up to 10 days.
— Chief of Navy Australia (@CN_Australia) December 13, 2022
According to Australian Navy Rear Admiral Peter Quinn, the country’s future software-driven submarine will serve as a force multiplier for the Australian military.
“Ghost Shark will join Ghost Bat and other autonomous systems as our investment in smart artificial intelligence-enabled technologies come to fruition,” he said.
“Our recently released [plan] includes the rapid development of combat ready prototypes to accelerate operational deployment of game changing capabilities such as Ghost Shark,” Quinn added.
The XL-AUV Program
Australia’s XL-AUV program is a new three-year initiative that would see the government spend up to 140 million Australian dollars ($100 million).
As part of the effort, Anduril Industries will design, develop, and manufacture three Ghost Sharks for the navy.
The drone submarines will be modular, customizable, and suitable for various payloads to support a wide range of missions.
“There is a clear need for an XL-AUV built in Australia, for Australia,” Anduril founder Palmer Luckey said.
“The XL-AUV will harness the latest developments in autonomy, edge computing, sensor fusion, propulsion, and robotics to bring advanced capability to the Royal Australian Navy.”
Once in service, Canberra’s Ghost Sharks will perform advanced intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting operations.