First Ghost Shark unmanned submarine surfaces


The first prototype Ghost Shark autonomous undersea vessel (pictured) being developed for the Royal Australian Navy has been completed.

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

Developed in Sydney by US start up Anduril, the company has previously shown a 2.8 tonne ‘Dive-LD’ autonomous submarine, however no details of the Australian prototype were released.

Three prototypes are planned for testing culminating in the manufacture of the vessels for the Royal Australian Navy.

Ghost Shark is being jointly developed and funded by Defence and Anduril Australia, and will become Mission Zero (0) for the defence innovation group Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA).

Ten Australian companies partnered with Anduril Australia to be ready for the manufacture of Ghost Shark, and there are 42 Australian companies who stand to benefit in the supply chain when manufacturing commences.

Ghost Shark will provide the Navy with a stealthy, long-range autonomous undersea warfare capability that can conduct persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike. It will also enhance Navy’s ability to operate with allies and partners.

The Ghost Shark is part of investment of up to $7.2 billion underway for the development and acquisition of subsea warfare capabilities and new autonomous and uncrewed maritime vehicles.

The Head of ASCA Professor Emily Hilder said ASCA missions addressed strategically directed priorities that focus on rapidly delivering asymmetric capabilities to Defence.

Professor Hilder said: “The co-funded and collaborative contract between Anduril Australia and Defence is a fast and innovative way for Defence to pursue new technology that directly relates to capability needs.

“ASCA wants to hear from Australian companies with solutions to Defence’s biggest challenges.”

The government is spending more than $10 billion on autonomous and uncrewed systems, including armed systems, as part of a comprehensive plan to provide the ADF with capabilities it needs to meet strategic circumstances.

Anduril is known in the United States for its rapid prototyping and commercialisation capabilities – something that is not usually seen in major defence projects.

The Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said: “Ghost Shark is an exemplar of how Defence and Australian industry can move at speed to develop new sovereign capabilities to respond to the challenges before us.

“By transitioning Ghost Shark to ASCA, a clear statement is being made about Defence’s commitment to the programme.

“ASCA is focussed on speeding up the transition of innovation into capability that will give our Australian Defence Force an edge, while creating more jobs for Australians commercialising the technology.”

Further reading:
Ghost Shark surfaces in Sydney

Picture: Royal Australian Navy/Rodney Braithwaite/Ghost Shark autonomous undersea vehicle

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