Naval Group builds underwater drone demonstrator for France
The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) has awarded Naval Group a framework agreement to design, produce and test an uncrewed combat underwater vehicle (UCUV) demonstrator.
A first follow-on contract was also signed to design and develop Naval Group’s Autonomous Decision-Making Process (ADMP) and secure autonomous navigation, the French naval defence company noted.
The newly awarded framework agreement came on the back of a deal between the two parties signed in May 2023 for the exploration of a UCUV. The agreement was set out to conduct studies and evaluate the technologies identified to meet the French Navy’s requirements, and to develop the UCUV demonstrator, Naval Group said.
The first subsequent contract to the framework agreement will run for 24 months and will enable the development of a version of ADMP with the aim of strengthening mission planning and monitoring, as well as securing surface and underwater navigation.
Naval Group said its XL UUV Demonstrator, a platform that completed qualification in mid-2023, would play a key part in the project.
“[The XL UUV] will enable short-cycle evaluation of the technologies, such as ADMP and energy, needed to confirm the technical choices linked to the design of the future UCUV demonstrator,” the company said.
Shephard Defence Insight has estimated that the exploration of autonomous platforms in the naval domain will continue to grow as most navies look for more affordable solutions that can be operated by fewer crew.
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