Defence has named Anduril’s extra-large autonomous undersea program “Ghost Shark” at an event on Sydney Harbour.
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During the naming ceremony, Anduril’s 2.8-tonne “Dive-LD” autonomous submarine arrived at the Harbour.
According to the company, the 5.8-metre Dive-LD is a testbed for Anduril Australia’s engineers as they develop an XL version, which is expected to be the size of a school bus.
The development program is expected to last three years and include a capability assessment and prototyping.
According to Anduril Australia, the Dive-DL has been delivered ahead of time, supporting the delivery of the $140 million partnership between the Royal Australian Navy, Defence Science and Technology Group, and Anduril Australia for the Ghost Shark.
The program is expected to create an affordable, autonomous, long-endurance and multi-mission-capable submarine which will be modular and customisable for a range of missions.
With a 3D printed exterior, the Dive-LD submarine can autonomously undertake missions to 6,000 meters depth for up to 10 days.
Dr Shane Arnott, senior vice president engineering, Anduril, said that three prototype XL-AUVs are scheduled for delivery to the RAN over the next three years.
“The subsea domain is extremely complex and the new frontier for exploitation of autonomous technologies,” Dr Arnott explained.
“With the advances we’re bringing on this program, we’ll be able to take more of the dull, dirty and dangerous missions from the crewed submarines, freeing them up to do more complex missions.”
Head of Navy Capability Rear Admiral Peter Quinn explained that the name was a nod to the future of autonomous systems in Defence.
“Ghost Shark will join Ghost Bat and other autonomous systems as our investment in smart AI-enabled technologies come to fruition,” RADM Quinn said.
“Our recently released RAS-AI Campaign Plan includes the rapid development of combat-ready prototypes to accelerate operational deployment of game-changing capabilities such as Ghost Shark.
“The benefit of Anduril’s software-first approach is that we can reprogram mid-mission and switch payloads in and out. Software-enabled autonomy can significantly increase Navy’s capabilities, but it becomes even more potent when integrated into sophisticated and cost effective hardware systems.”