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Ocius Delivers First Two Bluebottle Sea Drones to Royal Australian Navy

Ocius Technology has handed over the first two of five Bluebottle maritime surveillance drones to the Royal Australian Navy as part of a contract announced in 2022.

The Bluebottle unmanned surface vessels are expected to contribute to Australia’s national security and economic growth, the country’s ministry of defense said.

Once deployed, the sea drones will be utilized for marine resource, shipping, and trade route protection operations.

“As a trading nation, surrounded by oceans, a sustained maritime security presence is essential for assuring our national economy,” Australian Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy said.

“Autonomous capabilities and innovative technologies, such as the Ocius BlueBottle Uncrewed Surface Vessels, will assist our Navy in supporting Australian interests.”

“Powered by the wind, waves and the sun, the Ocius BlueBottle can autonomously monitor designated areas for extended lengths of time.”

Bluebottle Completion in 2023

The Sydney engineering firm developed the sea drones under the Defence Innovation Hub program, which invests in advanced innovations to support Australian defense.

The Bluebottle Unmanned Surface Vessel operates in Jervis Bay during Autonomous Warrior 2018. *** Local Caption *** Autonomous Warrior 2018 was a major demonstration designed to examine the potential of robotic, autonomous and uninhabited systems, in support of Defence operations in coastal environments. It combined an exhibition, trials and exercising in-service systems. The dynamic industry exhibition provided an opportunity for industry to showcase its latest technology and capabilities, the Autonomy Strategic Challenge (also known as “The Wizard of Aus”) featured a set of multi-national scientific trials, whilst Navy and Army exercised their in-service autonomous and unmanned assets. Held under the auspices of the Five Eyes’ The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP), Autonomous Warrior 2018 was led by Defence Science and Technology (DST) and supported by the Royal Australian Navy. It was held betwen the 5th – 23rd November, 2018 at HMAS Creswell and surrounding Defence-controlled areas in Jervis Bay, Australian Capital Territory.
Bluebottle sea drone at Autonomous Warrior 2018 in Australian Capital Territory. Photo: ABIS Steven Thomson/Australian Ministry of Defence

“Uncrewed Surface Vessels will also provide the Navy with a platform for continuous experimentation, including support to other autonomous surface and sub-surface systems,” Australian Defence Assistant Minister Matt Thistlethwaite stated.

“The remaining three Ocius BlueBottle USVs are expected to be delivered by July 2023.”

Sea Drones for Border Security

Last November, the Australian Army demonstrated Bluebottle capabilities during an offshore border patrol training in Western Australia.

The drone was able to employ surveillance and reconnaissance features during the trials.

The activity concluded with the Bluebottle being able to cover around 5,500 square kilometers (2,122 square miles) of the territory.

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