On 4 May 2023, the French defence procurement agency (DGA) awarded Naval Group a new contract to study the design of a future Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle (UCUV). The nine-month study will allow Naval Group to examine principal use cases and develop system architectures for an Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle. The naval use of unmanned and autonomous military systems is seen as a genuine strategic asset, and is increasingly sought after by navies for their intelligence, surveillance and seabed control missions. This first UCUV project paves the way for additional work to quickly develop the key technological bricks of such a drone, in relation to the development of the first demonstrator.
Aurore Neuschwander, Naval Group’s Director of Drones, Autonomous Systems and Underwater Weapons said, “Naval Group is very proud to support the French Ministry of the Armed Forces in the study of this new unmanned capability, which will help to kick-start the development of highcapacity autonomous systems.
Capitalizing on its expertise in the design and development of autonomous underwater systems and federating numerous French partners, Naval Group has been investing its own funds since 2016 to develop a first demonstrator of a large underwater drone (XL-UUV). This demonstrator will be qualified at sea in the summer of 2023, which will enable the company to test various technological bricks in a short cycle. Among the unique capabilities developed by Naval Group and its partners is the Controlled Decision-Making Autonomy (ADC®), designed to be the onboard brain for drones, while offering sailors the ability to supervise all unmanned systems in complete safety, and to plan and carry out complex missions, as a complement to manned ships.
Naval Group is a major French industrial group specializing in naval defense design, development and construction. Its headquarters are located in Paris. An international player in naval defence and heir to French naval know-how, Naval Group develops innovative solutions to meet the needs of navies. Heir to the French naval dockyards initiated in 1631 by Cardinal Richelieu and to the Direction des Constructions et Armes Navales (DCAN), which became Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) in 1991 and then DCNS in 2007, the company was rebranded Naval Group in 2017. Its two main shareholders are the French State (62.49%) and Thales Group (35%). Naval Group employs nearly 16,000 people across 18 countries.