Partnership to Develop 20m Deep Ocean USV for Indo-Pacific Deployment

Austal Australia and Saildrone will manufacture the Saildrone Surveyor in Australia for deep ocean mapping and ISR applications, above and below the surface By Caroline Rees / 18 Apr 2023
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Austal Australia and Saildrone Inc. have entered an exclusive Teaming Agreement to jointly identify opportunities to collaborate on the manufacture of the 20 meter Saildrone Surveyor, in Australia, for deployments in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Saildrone Surveyor USV is designed specifically for deep ocean mapping and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) applications, above and below the surface. The Surveyor is autonomous and uncrewed, offering extreme endurance, reliability, and cost-effective operations. 

Long-endurance USV developer Saildrone has amassed nearly 1 million miles and 25,000 days at sea with its 120-strong fleet. Saildrone Inc. is based in the US but will be establishing Saildrone Australia in 2023 to cater to the commercial and government sector in Australia and the broader Indo-Pacific Region.

The company entered a strategic partnership with Austal USA in August 2022 to construct Saildrone Surveyor USVs at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. This new Teaming Agreement in Australia builds upon the successful partnership in the US and further strengthens the relationship between the two companies in the development and construction of USV technology.

“This Agreement allows us to bring Saildrone Surveyor manufacturing to Australia, building in parallel with Austal USA,” Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said. “This increases our ability to rapidly scale to meet the demands we anticipate in the Indo-Pacific region. This industry-leading technology complements our work in the Patrol Boat Autonomy Trial and strengthens our capabilities overall in the autonomous naval vessel market.”

Saildrone Inc.’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Richard Jenkins is an Australian National, having grown up in the southwest of Western Australia. Mr Jenkins went to school mainly in the UK and moved to America in 2009 to start the business. 

“It is fantastic to be bringing technology, innovation, and investment back to Australia, and specifically to my home city of Perth,” said Mr Jenkins. “I am very excited to have Austal Australia as a partner and to explore the possibilities to put our vehicles to work for Australia and our partners in the wider Indo-pacific Region.”

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Posted by Caroline Rees Caroline co-founded Unmanned Systems Technology and has been at the forefront of the business ever since. With a Masters Degree in marketing Caroline has her finger on the pulse of all things unmanned and is committed to showcasing the very latest in unmanned technical innovation. Connect & Contact
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