Saildrone Surveyor uncrewed surface vehicles will be manufactured in Australia under a newly announced exclusive teaming agreement between Saildrone and Austal Limited.
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Both companies have agreed to collaborate on the 20-metre, autonomous, long-endurance USVs for deployments in the Indo-Pacific region. The Surveyor is designed for deep ocean mapping, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Saildrone, based in the United States, will also establish Saildrone Australia this year to cater for Australian commercial and government contracts and work in the broader Indo-Pacific Region.
“It is fantastic to be bringing technology, innovation, and investment back to Australia, and specifically to my home city of Perth,” said Saildrone founder and chief executive officer Richard Jenkins.
“I am very excited to have Austal Australia as a partner and to explore the possibilities to put our vehicles to work for Australia and our partners in the wider Indo-Pacific region.”
The company had entered a strategic partnership with Austal USA in August last year to construct Saildrone Surveyor USVs at Austal USA’s shipyard in Alabama.
Austal Limited chief executive officer Paddy Gregg said it was a logical move for Austal Australia and Saildrone to collaborate.
“This agreement allows us to bring Saildrone Surveyor manufacturing to Australia, building in parallel with Austal USA,” Mr Gregg said.
“This increases our ability to rapidly scale to meet the demands we anticipate in the Indo-Pacific region.
“This industry-leading technology complements our work in the Patrol Boat Autonomy Trial and strengthens our capabilities overall in the autonomous naval vessel market.”