The Royal Australian Navy and Anduril Industries have named the future stealthy extra-large autonomous underwater vehicle (XLAUV), as the Ghost Shark. The name for the Royal Australian Navy’s future craft is also a nod to the MQ-28A Ghost Bat, an autonomous loyal wingman developed for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) by Boeing Defence Australia. The Ghost Shark will be designed, manufactured and tested in Australia over the three years of a collaborative partnership between Anduril Industries, the Royal Australian Navy and the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG). The ceremony held today included the arrival the Dive-LD autonomous submarine to the company’ Sydney Harbour base which will be used for testing and development of the XL-AUV.
The Ghost Shark is pivotal to exploring the critical capabilities that Royal Australian Navy needs, to protect Australia and allies into the future. 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 Ghost 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.
The extra-large autonomous underwater vehicle (XLAUV) project is a significant investment in Australian industrial capabilities. 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 will harness the latest developments in autonomy, edge computing, sensor fusion, propulsion and robotics to bring advanced capability to the Royal Australian Navy.
Anduril Industries acquired Boston-based start-up Dive Technologies, a pioneer in autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) in February 2022. This acquisition expands Anduril’s suite of autonomous systems, extends its unmanned capabilities to the undersea domain, and significantly accelerates the company’s strategic growth. DIVE-LD is 48in (1.22m) wide and 19ft (5.79m) long, designed for operations at depths down to 6,000m. Dive utilizes Large Format Additive Manufacturing (LFAM) techniques and a novel system architecture to rapidly produce the DIVE-LD at a fraction of the time and cost of existing AUVs. Once integrated into Anduril’s autonomy software, Lattice OS, the next iteration of DIVE-LD will further disrupt this segment of the market.