Defence technology company Anduril Industries and the Australian Defence Force are entering into commercial negotiations for a US$100m co-funded design, development and manufacturing program for Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (XL-AUVs) for the Royal Australian Navy.
The XL-AUV will be an affordable, autonomous, long endurance, multi-mission capable AUV. It is modular, customizable and can be optimized with a variety of payloads for a wide range of military and non-military missions such as advanced intelligence, infrastructure inspection, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting. Anduril’s approach to development of the XL-AUV will deliver the vehicle at a fraction of the cost of existing undersea capabilities in radically lower timeframes.
The three-year XL-AUV development program has an incredibly ambitious delivery schedule which will involve capability assessment and prototyping in record time using Anduril’s agile capability development systems. There will be three prototypes delivered to the Royal Australian Navy over the three-year life of the program.
Anduril has proven it is capable of moving much faster than traditional defence development timelines. In 2020, Anduril became the youngest company to win a program of record with the United States Government since the end of the Korean War with its Autonomous Surveillance Towers (AST) program. Anduril also began developing an end-to-end counter-drone solution in 2019, which US Special Operations Command designated as its system of choice in a US$1B deal in 2022.
Anduril will design, develop and manufacture the XL-AUVs in Australia. Anduril will recruit, build and retain a highly skilled workforce. To support the design, development and manufacturing of the program Anduril plans to hire dozens of employees in high skilled roles including maritime engineering, software development, advanced manufacturing, robotics, propulsion design, mission operations and more. In addition, Anduril will actively partner with other Australian SMEs and the research and technology communities to source nearly all elements of the supply chain for the program.
“The XL-AUV project is a significant investment in Australian industrial capabilities,” said David Goodrich, OAM, Exec Chairman and CEO, 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.”
“There is a clear need for an XL-AUV built in Australia, for Australia,” said Palmer Luckey, Anduril Founder. “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.”