The agreement comes after Thales opened a new UK maritime autonomy centre at Turnchapel Wharf in south-west England in October to help strengthen its autonomous systems capabilities.
With an investment of £1m, Thales aims to bring together industry and academia for a UK research and development facility.
Thales UK Maritime Autonomous Systems lead Matt Hunt said: “Together we are looking to establish a globally recognised base in Plymouth for surface and sub-surface assets for both the domestic and international markets.
“This agreement is the first of many anticipated in the creation of a local ecosystem where Thales is investing in making Plymouth the centre for the development of UK Maritime Autonomy.”
The centre seeks to revolutionise the development of autonomous capability over the next decade through the exploitation of emergent and disruptive technologies.
It will primarily be used to carry out trials and development of maritime autonomous systems.
In addition, the facility will serve as a key platform for a joint programme between the UK and French governments to develop the next-generation of autonomous mine hunting systems.
MSubs project manager Paddy Dowsett said: “We are excited about the prospect of working closely with Thales as the role of military unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) expands into deeper water.
“Together we are well placed to support the RN and NATO partners with a range of unmanned underwater vehicles capable of conducting sophisticated and discreet anti-submarine and intelligence gathering missions.”
The partnership is expected to leverage MSubs’ experience in the design and manufacture of manned and unmanned military submersibles and Thales’ expertise in sensors and command and control systems.