Anduril to build Autonomous Undersea Vehicles for Australian Navy

According to a PR published by Anduril Industries on May 5, 2022, the Defence technology company and the Australian Defence Force are entering into commercial negotiations for a US$100m co-funded design, development, and manufacturing program for Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (XL-AUVs) for the Royal Australian Navy.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Anduril's Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (Picture source: Anduril)

The XL-AUV will be an affordable, autonomous, long-endurance, multi-mission capable AUV. 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’s 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. There will be three prototypes delivered to the Royal Australian Navy over the three-year life of the program.

Anduril has proven it is capable of moving much faster than traditional defense development timelines. In 2020, Anduril became the youngest company to win a program of record with the United States Government since the end of the Korean War with its Autonomous Surveillance Towers (AST) program.

Anduril also began developing an end-to-end counter-drone solution in 2019, which US Special Operations Command designated as its system of choice in a US$1B deal in 2022.

Anduril will design, develop and manufacture the XL-AUVs in Australia. Anduril will recruit, build and retain a highly-skilled workforce. To support the design, development, and manufacturing of the program Anduril plans to hire dozens of employees in high skilled roles including maritime engineering, software development, advanced manufacturing, robotics, propulsion design, mission operations, and more.

In addition, Anduril will actively partner with other Australian SMEs and the research and technology communities to source nearly all elements of the supply chain for the program.

In terms of underwater vehicles, the Royal Australian Navy is already using the Double Eagle Mk. II ROV is equipped with a searchlight, closed-circuit low light television camera, and an onboard close-range identification sonar.

Commands are relayed via a fiber optic link inside the vehicle's 1000-meter tether, which also relays sensor images for display on the ship's multifunction console in the operations room.

Each Double Eagle ROV is fitted with either a disposal charge slung beneath or an explosive or mechanical cutter designed to sever the wire rope or chain holding moored mines.