UPDATED 9 MARCH WITH ADDITIONAL COMMENTS
US-based Anduril Industries has announced it has established a local entity – Anduril Australia – to grow its local design, development, engineering, and manufacturing capabilities.
To be led by David Goodrich, Anduril Australia will be headquartered in Sydney, but says it has plans to create engineering, science, technology, and manufacturing capabilities throughout Australia.
“The Australian Defence Force has long punched above its weight and been in the vanguard of regional security in the Indo-Pacific region, a role they will be asked to play more and more in the coming decades,” Anduril CEO, Brian Schimpf said in a release. “Landmark treaties like AUKUS are signs that the century-long bond between the United States and Australia is only growing tighter and stronger.
“Australia has also embraced and deployed cutting-edge military technology — RAAF’s Loyal Wingman program is now one of the most impressive and innovative defence programs in the world,” Schimpf said. “Add to all that a rich bed of Aussie STEM talent, and Australia is the perfect place for Anduril to grow.”
David Goodrich added, “Cutting-edge software and the ability to field a fully networked capability, is changing the battlespace. The old ways of operating exquisitely expensive but siloed capabilities simply won’t cut it in this new world.
“Now is the right time for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Australian Government to look at their technology development with fresh eyes,” Goodrich added. “With an informed but disruptive approach and fresh thinking, Anduril is the ideal partner as the ADF embarks on this critical mission and I look forward to leading Anduril’s contribution to these efforts in Australia.”
Founded in 2017 US tech entrepreneur Palmer Luckey and based in Orange County in California, Anduril now has some 950 employees. It describes itself as a company that, rather than wait for customers to tell it what they need, it identifies problems, privately funds its own R&D, and sells finished products off-the-shelf. It says this allows them to turn ideas into deployed capabilities in months rather than years.
The company has capabilities in platforms, hardware, and operating systems for counter-UAS and counter-intrusion, and uncrewed aerial and underwater systems. In February 2022 Anduril acquired Dive Technologies, a start-up that had developed advanced autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and has recently been awarded contracts by the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for counter-UAS systems.
The company already has a strong Australian link, with Chief Engineer Dr Shane Arnott joining Anduril in June 2021. Dr Arnott previously worked for Boeing Phantom Works International and was the program director for Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS) being developed for the RAAF’s Loyal Wingman program.
In a brief to media on 8 March, Arnott said Anduril was created around the construct of software first, because the vast majority of problems were in the software space. He said anyone creating a great new defence company would not model it on the traditional big defence primes.
“It would look more like Google or Facebook or some of these other technology companies. Certainly that’s where the talent has been going,” he said, adding that what made Anduril different was speed.
“We need to be able to react quicker because the threat is out-innovating us.” he said. “We don’t have to wait for defence to come and say ‘hey this is something we need’, go through the whole process of defining requirements, get out in front of it, make a competition and compete for it and by the time it actually gets into the warfighters’ hands, it’s out of date.”
Goodrich agreed, saying there was an appreciation that acquisition needed to be faster and more responsive.
“There certainly are folks in defence who get it,” he said. “The very senior people, they get it. The Minister gets it. We are lucky we are working with some people in Defence and the ADF who see the opportunity that Anduril represents to do a little bit of different thinking, and to field product in a hitherto unheard of short space of time.”