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France’s Naval Group Kicks Off Underwater Drone Qualification Trials 

Naval Group has begun sea qualification trials of a large underwater drone (XL-UUV) demonstrator.

The trials are part of a future unmanned underwater combat vehicle program whose design study Naval Group has been conducting as part of a French government contract since May.

Future Underwater Drone 

Successful trials will pave the way for testing and developing various technologies for the platform, including Controlled Decision-Making Autonomy, Naval Group explained.

The autonomy software is “designed to be the onboard brain for drones, while offering sailors the ability to supervise all unmanned systems in complete safety, and to plan and carry out complex missions, as a complement to manned ships.”

Potential Missions

Secretly launched in November 2020 and unveiled in October 2021, the demonstrator has been in development since 2016, according to Naval News.

The 10-meter (33 feet) — scalable to 25-meter (82 feet) — platform displaces 10 tons. 

Potential missions include mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, and offensive mine warfare operations, Naval News wrote, citing the head of UxV & MCM Business Line at Naval Group Cyril Levy.

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