The submarine warfare of the future will do without people. Without a crew, a submarine is much easier and cheaper to build. The robotic submarines can dive 6,000 meters deep, the operational depth of conventional boats is around 500 meters.

Anduril Australia will build three autonomous underwater drones for the Navy. After the triumph of flying drones, underwater drones are considered the next milestone. The Australian models are fully submersible and relatively large. They should reach the size of a school bus, which is why they are also called XL-AUV – Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. The special thing about it: Your shell is not waterproof, the seawater flows into the hull. If there are no air-filled zones in the boat, it doesn’t need a hull that can withstand the water pressure. Such a zone is essential for boats with a human crew, but the drone does not need breathing air. This significantly simplifies the construction of the immersion body. Transport is also made easier because the autonomous submarine is much lighter.

Three different models are to be built initially. David Goodrich, Managing Director of Anduril said: “They are made of an aluminum framework covered with a light skin that has gaps and they drive completely under water. They have a common battery powered propulsion system at the stern, a common navigation and control system in the bow and everything in between is for the payload.” The middle payload module can be designed with different lengths.

Significantly cheaper than conventional submarines

“They will be delivered over the three-year life of the program at a fraction of the cost of a conventional submarine.” The three models are to be developed and built for 100 million Australian dollars. The batteries are designed to be pressure-resistant, and the navigation and control systems are housed in containers the size of a propane gas tank.

Since the XL-AUV does not have a pressure tank, it should be able to dive deeper than conventional submarines. It should reach a depth of 6000 meters. This is dangerous for human-crewed submarines, which are nowhere near as deep. The drive module can be expanded for deployments lasting several weeks. The XL-AUV work fully autonomously. This is a particularly demanding task for artificial intelligence. Deep down, the system has no contact with the outside world. Even in difficult situations, it is therefore not possible to switch to remote control.

Quelle: On the sensor