Marine robotics company Sonardyne has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MSubs to enhance the performance of autonomous underwater platforms.

The strategic partnership will focus on delivering greater underwater situational awareness capabilities for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

It will see both the companies combine and assess Sonardyne’s commercial-off-the-shelf navigation, communications, and imaging payloads onto MSubs extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicle (XLUUV).

In addition, Sonardyne will provide its technologies to support MSubs.

The technologies include AvTrak 6, a tracking command and control system; SPRINT-Nav X, a hybrid inertial-Doppler navigation sensor; and Vigilant FLS, a forward-looking obstacle avoidance sonar.

MSubs managing director Brett Phaneuf said: “The integration of Sonardyne equipment on our extra-large AUV is a key factor for our continued success, helping us to move the state-of-the-art forward swiftly.

“The operator-centric approach to engineering from Sonardyne and MSubs makes it easy to enhance our vehicle performance and reliability through applied research, bringing much-needed capability to the underwater domain and greatly reduced timelines and budgets.”

The navy had selected MSubs’ 9m-long XLUUV to understand its future roles in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Sonardyne and MSubs also participated in the first phase of the UK Defence and Security Accelerator’s (DASA) Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle Testbed last year.

During this phase, the bathymetric data gathered by Vigilant FLS was used by MSubs’ XLUUV to navigate off the coast of Plymouth.

Sonardyne Defence head Ioseba Tena said: “Our two companies are at the forefront of the development of unmanned platforms and payloads that are reshaping the underwater battlespace playbook; delivering tactical edge to navies and governments facing new, and increasingly capable underwater adversaries.”

Furthermore, the companies are also aiming to pursue the MoD’s Project CETUS.