The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has received the first two of five BlueBottle uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) from Australian company Ocius Technology.
The delivery was announced by the Australian Government.
The vessels were handed over by the company’s officials to Australian Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy and Assistant Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite.
Conroy said: “As a trading nation, surrounded by oceans, a sustained maritime security presence is essential for assuring our national economy.
“Autonomous capabilities and innovative technologies, such as the Ocius BlueBottle USVs, will assist our Navy in supporting Australian interests.
“Powered by the wind, waves and the sun, the Ocius BlueBottle can autonomously monitor designated areas for extended lengths of time.”
The Sydney-based engineering company has developed the USVs in close coordination with the RAN, as part of a Defence Innovation Hub’s initiative.
The autonomous capability is expected to boost the RAN’s capabilities to safeguard the country’s maritime trade routes and resources to further enhance the national security.
Thistlethwaite said: “USVs will also provide the Navy with a platform for continuous experimentation, including support to other autonomous surface and sub-surface systems.
“The remaining three Ocius BlueBottle USVs are expected to be delivered by July 2023.”
BlueBottle USVs are long endurance platforms that are more flexible and available at a relatively low cost to support a wide range of robotic and autonomous experimentation efforts of the Navy.
Prior to the delivery, the Australian Defence Force conducted sea trials of the BlueBottle USVs in November last year.
Held in the Western Australia’s remote islands, the trials were a part of Operation Resolute, a mission undertaken by ADF to patrol the country’s exclusive economic zone.