Saildrone USVs could be made in Australia

By on 18 April, 2023

The Saildrone Surveyor is a 20-metre-long uncrewed surface vehicle designed to undertake deep ocean mapping and a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Image courtesy Saildrone.

Austal Australia and Saildrone have signed an exclusive Teaming Agreement to “jointly identify opportunities” to collaborate on the manufacture of the Saildrone Surveyor in Australia, for deployments in the Indo-Pacific region.

Saildrone produces long-endurance, uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs). Its 120-strong USV fleet has amassed nearly 1.5 million kilometres and 25,000 days at sea with its.

The Saildrone Surveyor USV is 20 metres long and designed specifically for deep ocean mapping and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications, above and below the surface. The Surveyor is autonomous and uncrewed and has extreme endurance.

In its ocean mapping role, it can undertake autonomous single-beam and multibeam bathymetric data collection for navigation and charting, telecommunications, offshore energy, and physical oceanography to depths of 23,000 feet.

Saildrone is based in the US but will be establishing Saildrone Australia in 2023 to cater to the commercial and government sector in Australia and the broader Indo-Pacific Region.

The company entered a strategic partnership with Austal USA in August 2022 to construct Saildrone Surveyor USVs at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

The new Teaming Agreement in Australia builds upon the successful partnership in the US.

“This Agreement allows us to bring Saildrone Surveyor manufacturing to Australia, building in parallel with Austal USA,” said Austal Limited CEO, Paddy Gregg. “This increases our ability to rapidly scale to meet the demands we anticipate in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Saildrone Inc.’s founder and CEO, Richard Jenkins, is an Australian who grew up in the southwest of Western Australia. He moved to the US in 2009 to start the business.

“It is fantastic to be bringing technology, innovation, and investment back to Australia, and specifically to my home city of Perth,” said 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.”

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