The unmanned surface vehicle (USV) produced by Exail has been chosen by the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet Task Force 59 to take part in the two-week 2023 International Maritime Exercise (IMX 23).
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Held in March with representatives from over 50 countries, the exercise is expected to include 7,000 personnel and 35 ships spanning the Arabian Gulf, Persian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and East African coastal regions.
Under the exercise, the DriX will take part in the Maritime Domain Awareness and Mine Countermeasures Missions tactical environments.
It is hoped that the exercise will assess the application of combined unmanned technologies for deployment by inter-allied forces.
The USV will operate with other unmanned partners in the TF59.
“To be able to take part in such a major naval exercise, along with some of the industry’s best, is both a great honour and a recognition of the hard work the Exail teams put in the development of autonomous solutions, from the design of the platforms and their artificial intelligence to the services we offer around their deployment.” Guillaume Eudeline, Exail’s naval autonomy market director said.
“We are now looking forward to the start of IMX 23 this Sunday and are confident that, together with all other partners, we will demonstrate the high potential that deploying unmanned solutions in the naval domain represents.”
Exail was formed following a merger between the ECA Group and iXblue in 2022.
The DriX is not the only uncrewed vessel fielded by the company.
In December, the DGA, France’s defence procurement agency, selected Exail’s A18D autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for seabed monitoring operations.
Under the agreement, the French Navy is expected to rent an A18D autonomous underwater system for approximately two years.
The contract includes academic and operational training for 12 sailors, which is expected to upskill them on the use of the AUV and how to interpret critical data collected by the vessel.
According to Exail, the vessel can undertake a range of missions up to 3,000 metres in depth, including mapping, sonar imaging and high-resolution pipeline and cable inspection. It can also be housed on an array of different ships.
The A18D can operate autonomously for 24 hours, reaching speeds of six knots and capturing 40 square kilometres of imaging during each mission.
The AUV is expected to allow the French Navy to detect and identify objects underwater, chart the seabed and characterise the nature of the seabed.
“We are proud to participate in this seabed program and to put all of Exail’s technology and the know-how of our teams at the service of France’s ambitions in this area of sovereignty,” Dominique Giannoni, chief executive officer of Exail, said.