The US Navy has accepted three proposals from Australian company Aquabotix to conduct a series of capability exercises as part of the US Navy’s 2019 Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX).
These demonstrations will showcase the various capabilities of Aquabotix's SwarmDiver system and a new vehicle system currently in development with Aquabotix. A key component of the demonstrations will see Aquabotix demonstrate its products’ ability to enhance a user’s understanding of their operational environment in the very challenging shallow water and surf zones.
Whitney Million, Aquabotix chief executive, said, "Aquabotix is pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate to the US Navy both the enhanced capabilities of its SwarmDiver vehicle systems and Aquabotix’s new technology offering."
The 2019 ANTX program focuses on the concept of "Prepare for Battle: Undersea Security" or "US19". The focus is on technologies and future concepts that
explore and interact with the maritime domain, connecting assets from the seafloor to space and ensuring their security, in order to bring data home.
ANTX is a recurring annual event that enables the US Navy to identify science, technologies and future concepts for the maritime domain. This event provides the opportunity for the US Navy and industry to come together to test cutting-edge autonomous systems and their related technologies.
US fleet decision-makers and stakeholders are invited to see these systems in action, on the water, with real-time opportunity to ask questions and help guide what is needed to advance the technology to the next step in the development or acquisition process.
The Aquabotix SwarmDiver is a system of hybrid unmanned surface vehicles (USV) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV). Each SwarmDiver drone is 29.5 inches long, weighing 1.6 kilograms and capable of a speed of 4.2 knots.
SwarmDiver comes in three variants, with niche capabilities:
- SwarmDiver Stealth: Developed for use in covert defence operations and incorporates digital camouflage coating, low-noise motor, and no visible light emitting sources for data collection and transmission through littoral and harbour zones;
- SwarmDiver Nightline: Developed specifically for use with special operations forces, the Nightline system is designed for covert operations where nighttime vehicle recovery may be required and incorporates digital camouflage coating, a low-noise motor, ultraviolet coating for nighttime detection with a barely visible light source; and
- SwarmDiver Edge: Equipped with high intensity lights for use in establishing a visual boundary along a shore line, docking area, around a vessel or near other items of interest. SwarmDiver Edge is designed to specifically counter the growing threat of asymmetric threats including militants, terrorists and piracy.
"The Navy is selective in choosing participants for the event, and we are honored that the Navy has accepted multiple demonstration proposals by Aquabotix. We anticipate that the event will further cement Aquabotix’s place as a leader in the emerging ‘micro marine vehicle’ defence market," Million added.
Based in Sydney and Fall River, Massachusetts, Aquabotix is an established underwater robotics company that manufactures and sells commercial and industrial-grade underwater drones for commercial, high-end consumer and military applications. It is also the first company globally that is offering commercially-available swarming underwater drones.