BAE Systems has announced a collaboration with Cellula Robotics to demonstrate the capabilities of its new Extra Large Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (XLAUV).
Known as Herne, it will be showcased at a technology demonstrator in the water in the second half of 2024.
Herne will provide a capability built on BAE Systems’ deep understanding of its military customers to deliver the persistence and flexibility needed for the future.
The XLAUV’s adaptable design will allow the platform to be configured to conduct operations, including anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The demonstrator project will test the ‘brains’ of the BAE Systems military XLAUV on one of Cellula Robotics’ underwater vehicles in trials set to take place at a facility on the south coast of England.
Recent acts of sub-sea aggression have highlighted the strategic importance of the underwater domain, the need to protect the critical national infrastructure within it, and the inherent challenges it comes with.
Autonomous platforms like Herne could have a role in helping militaries overcome the challenge that the vast expanses of the underwater battlespace present, enabling them to monitor much larger areas without human crew limitations and in a far more cost-effective way.
Scott Jamieson, Managing Director of Maritime Services at BAE Systems, said, “This will be the first time any UK company will have tested its advanced autonomous capabilities in this area and I am excited to be working with Cellula Robotics. My aim is to create a capability that is faster, more capable, more flexible, cheaper for customers to buy and provides navies with a way to protect critical national infrastructure.”
Eric Jackson, President at Cellula Robotics Ltd, said, “As we embark on this ground-breaking partnership with BAE Systems, we recognize the critical role autonomous platforms play in addressing the evolving challenges of the underwater domain. Recent sub-sea aggression incidents underscore the importance of safeguarding our underwater critical infrastructure.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with BAE Systems and look forward to the demonstration, setting the course for a future of enhanced underwater security and intelligence.”