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France Taps Naval Group for Underwater Drone Demonstrator

Naval Group has signed a contract to design, produce, and test an uncrewed combat underwater vehicle (UCUV) demonstrator for the French Navy.

The framework agreement follows a contract awarded to the company last year for the conceptualization of the drone.

A follow-on 24-month contract detailing the development of Naval Group’s Autonomous Decision-Making Process, a drone management system, was also signed.

Other contracts are set to be issued, focusing on new technologies needed for the UCUV’s long-endurance and underwater detection capabilities, as well as sub-order implementation.

Key Component

The XL-UUV demonstrator, Naval Group’s earlier underwater drone project, will serve as a key component of the UCUV initiative.

“We will leverage the know-how we acquired in naval unmanned systems over the last ten years, and in particular our XL-UUV demonstrator, which will serve as a platform for technology integration and testing,” Naval Group Drones, Autonomous Systems and Underwater Weapons Director Aurore Neuschwander shared.

The demonstrator, launched in 2020 and unveiled in 2021, began its sea qualification trials last year. Its tested capabilities include autonomy and interoperability with the navy’s manned ships.

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