Anduril autonomous sub docks in Sydney

The stealthy extra-large autonomous undersea vehicle programme (XL-AUV) being developed by Anduril Australia has been formally named the ‘Ghost Shark’ by the Department of Defence in a ceremony in Sydney.

The name references Boeing’s successful development of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Ghost Bat for the RAAF.

The ceremony at Anduril’s Sydney base featured a 2.8 tonne ‘Dive-LD’ autonomous submarine (pictured), which will be part of a test and development effort culminating in the manufacture of the vessels for the Royal Australian Navy.

The Dive-LD vessel arrived from the United States ahead of schedule in a major step forward in the $140 million partnership between RAN, Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and Anduril Australia to manufacture three Ghost Shark XL-AUVs in Australia.

CEO of Anduril Australia David Goodrich said: “The Ghost Shark programme is a significant investment in Australian industrial capabilities.

“We see Australia becoming a leading exporter of cutting-edge autonomous capability to the rest of the world and are very focused on developing the Australian supply chain and growing together.

There are significant opportunities for Australian industry as Anduril Australia begins to manufacture at scale and export.”

The Ghost Shark will be an affordable, autonomous, long endurance and multi-mission capable submarine, according to Anduril. They will be modular, customisable, and optimised with a variety of payloads for a wide range of missions.

The 5.8m long Dive-LD, which has a 3D printed body, can autonomously conduct missions for up to 10 days along the seafloor at up to 6,000 meters ocean depth.

Like the Dive-LD, the Ghost Shark XL-AUV will be capable of a wide range of deployment options.

Senior Vice President Engineering, Anduril said that three prototype XL-AUVs would be delivered to the navy over three years, with a manufacture-ready vehicle at the end of 2025.

“Each prototype will be iterative using agile engineering approaches; we’re not just building three of the same vehicle.

“The subsea domain is extremely complex and the new frontier for exploitation of autonomous technologies.

“With the advances we’re bringing on this program, we’ll be able to take more of the dull, dirty and dangerous missions from the crewed submarines, freeing them up to do more complex missions.”

Head of Navy Capability Rear Admiral Peter Quinn said: “The name ‘Ghost Shark’ signifies that software-driven autonomous systems are a force multiplier for Defence.

“Ghost Shark will join Ghost Bat and other autonomous systems as our investment in smart AI enabled technologies come to fruition.”

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Picture: Anduril

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