Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and defence technology company EDGE have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop advanced uncrewed surface vessels.

Under the MoU, the companies will jointly design a ‘first-in-class’ series of 170 modular uncrewed surface vessels (m-USV) to be used for all types of military and commercial applications.

EDGE’s entity ADSB will collaborate with IAI to develop these USVs.

Under the joint development, ADSB will design the platform, integrate the control systems and payload, as well as develop the concept of operations (CONOPS).

Development of the autonomous control system and merging various mission-payloads to the control system units as per the requirements of the mission will be undertaken by the Israeli defence firm.

EDGE Group CEO and managing director Faisal Al Bannai said: “It is an important milestone for EDGE to forge collaborations with leading defence players such as IAI to strengthen our advanced technology portfolio.”

“Through this strategic alliance, we can ensure optimal autonomous operational solutions that minimise risk to human life, address key challenges for various industries, and enable a secure future for all.”

The USV will include advanced sensors, sonars and imaging systems combined into a unified command and control (C2) system.

It will be designed in a way that would be capable of operating remotely, semi-autonomously, or autonomously, without any human interference.

IAI president and CEO Boaz Levy said: “We are proud to join hands with EDGE in this endeavour, which is another step towards our growing efforts and partnership in the region.

“This MoU brings together the best technological know-how from both companies, EDGE Group’s and ADBS’ naval and commercial vessel expertise, and IAI’s expertise in autonomous systems, robotics, and artificial intelligence, for a joint Made in UAE effort, maximising both companies business opportunities and growth.”

Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), border and littoral zone patrol, mine detection and sweeping, maritime security operations, submarine detection, and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations are the USV’s military applications.

The USV can also be tailored for commercial applications, including oil and gas exploration, oceanography, pollution monitoring, transportation of materials and liquids, and search and rescue (SAR).