Defence technology company Anduril Industries is set to enter commercial negotiations with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to deliver Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (XL-AUVs) for the Royal Australian Navy.

The $100m co-funded programme will involve the design, development, production and delivery of three XL-AUV prototypes over three years.

The uncrewed XL-AUV will be developed as a modular, long endurance, multi-mission capable vessel.

It will be optimised to carry different payloads to support different military as well as non-military missions including advanced intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance, infrastructure inspection and targeting.

Anduril Australia exec chairman and CEO David Goodrich said: “The XL-AUV project is a significant investment in Australian industrial capabilities.

“Through this partnership, Anduril Australia will become a major player in the thriving defence industrial base in Australia and contribute to Australia becoming a leading exporter of cutting-edge autonomous capability to the rest of the world.”

Anduril will manufacture the XL-AUVs in Australia.

It plans to hire employees to support the project works. Particularly, the company will recruit people in high skilled roles such as maritime engineering, software development, robotics, propulsion design and mission operations among others.

Several Australian SMEs and the research and technology communities are also expected to be a part of this project.

Anduril founder Palmer Luckey said: “There is a clear need for an XL-AUV built in Australia, for Australia.

“The XL-AUV will harness the latest developments in autonomy, edge computing, sensor fusion, propulsion and robotics to bring advanced capability to the Royal Australian Navy.”

Last month, the Australian Government announced plans to acquire two additional evolved Cape-class patrol boats (CCPB) from Austal.