Anduril Industries said this week it is partnering with the Australian Defense Force on a $100 million effort for Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (XL-AUVs) for the Royal Australian Navy.

The company said on May 4 it and the Australian government are specifically entering into commercial negotiations for a co-funded design, development and manufacturing program for the XL-AUV. The vehicle is planned to be affordable, autonomous, long endurance, modular, customizable with various payload options, and multi-mission capable. Anduril said it will be able to host payloads including intelligence, infrastructure inspection, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting.

The company claimed its development approach “will deliver the vehicle at a fraction of the cost of existing undersea capabilities in radically lower timeframes.”

Anduril said the development program will last for three years with “an incredibly ambitious delivery schedule” and that three prototypes will be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy.

The company underscored the vehicles will be designed, developed and manufactured in Australia, requiring the company to hire dozens of employees. It plans to work with other Australian small to medium enterprises and research communities to source “nearly all elements of the supply chain” for the program.

In March, Anduril said it opened an office in Sydney, Australia as part of its effort to start designing, developing, and building autonomy, unmanned systems and networking solutions for Australian government customers (Defense Daily, March 7). 

“The XL-AUV project is a significant investment in Australian industrial capabilities. Through this partnership, Anduril Australia will become a major player in the thriving defense industrial base in Australia and contribute to Australia becoming a leading exporter of cutting-edge autonomous capability to the rest of the world,” David Goodrich, executive chairman and CEO of Anduril Australia, said in a statement.

“There is a clear need for an XL-AUV built in Australia, for Australia. 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 founder Palmer Luckey, added.

In the U.S., Anduril provides Autonomous Surveillance Towers (ASTs) for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol that, when combined with its LATTICE command and control platform, offers artificial intelligence/machine learning capability to the client (Defense Daily, March 30).

More recently, in January, Anduril won a contract worth almost $1 billion by U.S. Special Operations Command to be the system integrator to provide counter-unmanned aircraft systems solutions to U.S. Special Operations Forces around the world, using its LATTICE platform (Defense Daily, Feb. 1).

In February, Anduril said it acquired the 30-employee Dive Technologies, a small developer of autonomous underwater vehicle technology. It designed the DIVE-LD (large displacement) vehicle that is meant for low-cost ownership, long endurance and several sensors and survey configurations (Defense Daily, Feb. 3).

Earlier this year, Anduril also participated in the International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 2022 based out of the 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, with its Ghost 4 vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicle (Defense Daily, Feb. 2).