Newcastle-based BlueZone Group has been awarded an Australian Defence Innovation Hub grant to develop a anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability for the RAN.
The company says it and its partners – Sonartech Atlas and Acacia Systems – will develop the system using a Boeing Liquid Robotics Wave Glider unmanned surface vehicle (USV) integrated with an Australian-developed KraitArray towed sonar array, and combat data processing system developed by Sonartech Atlas.
“The program builds on the success of our earlier exploratory work and will apply innovative integration of sonar processors and automated tracking technologies with leading-edge ASW sensors and the latest version of Liquid Robotics’ Wave Glider,” BlueZone Group CEO, Elizabeth Karpiel said in a statement. “This project aims to provide a fully autonomous persistent surveillance capability which will complement the ADF’s existing and planned ASW force structure.”
Managing director of Sonartech Atlas, Peter Campbell added, “This project demonstrates a new application of Sonics on autonomous vehicles, in addition to existing applications on surface ships, helicopters and aircraft. It is a major step forward in the development of an indigenous capability for persistent unmanned surveillance of Australian waters.”
Acacia Systems founder and Chairman, Ted Huber said, “This investment is a great outcome for developing sovereign Defence assets that support Australia, and also ensures local industry, including SME’s, can continue to grow and support local Australian innovation.”
In a separate statement, Boeing Defence Australia vice president and managing director, Scott Carpendale said, “BlueZone Group has been a channel partner of Boeing’s Wave Glider for nearly 10 years in support of the Royal Australian Navy’s maritime surveillance missions.”
“Boeing in Australia has a strong base of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who have supported innovative programs including the Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program as well as Insitu Pacific’s ScanEagle,” he added. “What’s really exciting is to see Australian SMEs lead a complex project like this, with BlueZone Group as the prime and Boeing through our Liquid Robotics subsidiary, as their supplier.”
It is planned to integrate the systems and conduct trials by 2022.