Austal to take part in manufacturing Saildrone Surveyor USV

Image credit: Austal

Austal Australia has entered into an exclusive teaming agreement with Saildrone Inc to look into prospects for manufacturing a 20-metre Saildrone Surveyor uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) in Australia for deployments in the Indo-Pacific region.

The ASX-listed company said that US-based Saildrone is the world leader in long-endurance USVs, having accumulated approximately one million miles and 25,000 days at sea with their 120-strong fleet.

In August 2022, Saildrone formed a strategic relationship with Austal USA to build Saildrone Surveyor USVs at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Now, the new teaming agreement builds on the two firms’ successful partnership in the US and strengthens their relationship in the research and construction of uncrewed surface vehicle technologies.

Paddy Gregg, CEO of Austal Limited, stated that the partnership deal was a logical step and an opportunity for Austal Australia and Saildrone to work together.

“This Agreement allows us to bring Saildrone Surveyor manufacturing to Australia, building in parallel with Austal USA. This increases our ability to rapidly scale to meet the demands we anticipate in the Indo-Pacific region,” the CEO explained. 

Gregg added that the technology complements their work in the Patrol Boat Autonomy Trial and boosts their overall capabilities in the autonomous naval vessel market.

Meanwhile, Saildrone’s Founder and CEO Richard Jenkins expressed his delight to be working with Austal and bringing the company’s technology and investment back to his hometown, Perth. 

“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,” noted Jenkins.

The 20-metre-long Saildrone Surveyor USV has intended for above- and below-the-surface intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions as well as deep ocean mapping.

Austal said the Surveyor is autonomous and uncrewed, offering extreme endurance, reliability, and cost-effective operations.