Australia puts large autonomous subs on fast track

Written by Nick Blenkey

XL-AUV will be an affordable, autonomous, long endurance, multi-mission capable AUV

While the AUKUS plan for Australia to acquire nuclear powered submarines with help from the U.S. and the U.K. appears to be moving right along, the Royal Australian Navy could meantime be getting Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (XL-AUVs) in under three years.

Irving, Calif., headquartered high tech defense company Anduril Industries reports that it is entering into commercial negotiations with the Australian Defence Force for the XL-AUVs,

“The XL-AUV will be an affordable, autonomous, long endurance, multi-mission capable AUV,” says Anduril. “It is modular, customizable and can be optimized with a variety of payloads for a wide range of military and non-military missions such as advanced intelligence, infrastructure inspection, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting.”

Anduril says its approach to development of the XL-AUV “will deliver the vehicle at a fraction of the cost of existing undersea capabilities in radically lower timeframes.”

“The three-year XL-AUV development program has an incredibly ambitious delivery schedule which will involve capability assessment and prototyping in record time using Anduril’s agile capability development systems,” says the company. “There will be three prototypes delivered to the Royal Australian Navy over the three-year life of the program.”

Anduril will design, develop and manufacture the XL-AUVs in Australia. To support the design, development and manufacturing of the program, it plans to hire dozens of employees in high skills roles.

“There is a clear need for an XL-AUV built in Australia, for Australia,” said Palmer Luckey, Anduril Founder. “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.”

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