Elbit Systems Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV), the Seagull, participated in a joint anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise held recently in the Mediterranean by the Israeli and French navies.
An ASW force under Israeli command, including two Israeli ASW vessels, a French frigate and helicopter, and the Seagull, performed ASW missions against an Israeli Navy submarine.
The joint force operated manned and unmanned surface and airborne vessels, practicing advanced means and tactics for submarine detection and deterrence.
This demonstration of the Seagull's capabilities, which also include mine counter-measures, electronic warfare, maritime security, hydrography and other missions, comes in advance of Autonomous Warrior 2018 (AW18), which will be held in Jervis Bay in November.
AW18 is an exercise that aims to demonstrate the ability of autonomous vehicles to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in a littoral environment. AW18 will bring together participants from Australia and other members of the 'Five-Eyes' group of nations (the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand).
Whilst RAN does not currently have a procurement program for a USV, it has previously trialled the Bluebottle ASW USV, designed by Ocius Technology and Thales. Three networked Bluebottles will participate in AW18.
Defence has also invested $3.17 million in Ron Allum Deepsea Services, a NSW company that aims to provide a high-performance autonomous glider for long-endurance vehicle, theatre-scale undersea surveillance. Defence has also recently contracted Taree-based Steber to build five 38-foot boats, which will be configured as USVs and mine counter-measure support vessels.