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Anduril tapped to develop autonomous undersea UAVs for RAN

The global defence technology company, founded by a former Facebook executive, has secured a deal with the Royal Australian Navy for the local development of uncrewed undersea capability. 

The global defence technology company, founded by a former Facebook executive, has secured a deal with the Royal Australian Navy for the local development of uncrewed undersea capability. 

Anduril Industries, which announced its expansion into Australia earlier this year, has commenced commercial negotiations with Defence for a co-funded design, development and manufacturing program for extra large autonomous undersea vehicles (XL-AUVs).

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The three-year deal – worth an estimated AU$140 million – is expected to involve capability assessment and prototyping, with three platforms set to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy over the course of the program.  

The XL-AUV is billed as an affordable, autonomous, long endurance, multi-mission capable AUV.

According to Anduril, the platform is modular and customisable, capable of being optimised with varying payloads for advanced intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting missions.   

Anduril has committed to designing, developing, and manufacturing the XL-AUVs in Australia, supported by the recruitment and retention of a highly skilled workforce to fill key roles across maritime engineering, software development, advanced manufacturing, robotics, propulsion design, and mission operations.

The company has also noted plans to actively partner with local SMEs and the research and technology communities.

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The XL-AUV project is a significant investment in Australian industrial capabilities,” said David Goodrich, OAM, executive chairman and CEO at Anduril Australia.

“Through this partnership, Anduril Australia will become a major player in the thriving defence industrial base in Australia and contribute to Australia becoming a leading exporter of cutting-edge autonomous capability to the rest of the world.” 

Anduril founder Palmer Luckey said the program would meet Australia’s evolving defence requirements.  

“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,” he said.

This local program builds on Anduril’s global pipeline.

The company secured the Autonomous Surveillance Towers (AST) with the United States government in 2020 and commenced development of an end-to-end counter-drone solution in 2019, designated as the system of choice for the US Special Operations Command as part of a $1 billion deal in 2022.

The XL-AUV program is one of a number of local endeavours earmarked by Anduril following its launch in Australia.

The $6.3 billion company plans to invest in the development of artificial intelligence technologies and next-generation networked weapons.

Goodrich previously told Defence Connect the company would position itself for contracts across all warfighting domains.

“We are focused across all of the domains of defence and that includes maritime, land, air force, and space,” he said.

“Our technology and our operating system have the ability to add massive value across all of those domains.”

Anduril Australia is headquartered in Sydney but has pledged to establish a nationwide network.  

[Related: Anduril expands into Australia, appoints local CEO ]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

Anduril tapped to develop autonomous undersea UAVs for RAN
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