British defense contractor BAE Systems has announced a partnership with Canadian marine technology company Cellula Robotics to demonstrate the capabilities of its new extra large autonomous underwater vehicle (XLAUV), known as Herne. The demonstration will take place in the water in the second half of 2024.
As the underwater domain faces ongoing acts of subsea aggression and threats, autonomous platforms like XLAUVs are expected to play a crucial role in helping militaries overcome the challenges presented by the vast expanses of the underwater battlespace. These platforms enable the monitoring of much larger areas without the limitations of a human crew and in a more cost-effective way.
Herne, the new autonomous underwater vehicle developed by BAE Systems, features an adaptable design that can be configured for various operations, including anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare.
The upcoming technology demonstrator project aims to test the capabilities of BAE Systems’ military XLAUV on one of Cellula Robotics’ underwater vehicles. The trials will be conducted at a facility on the south coast of England next year. This will mark the first time a UK company has tested its advanced autonomous capabilities in this area.
Scott Jamieson, Managing Director of Maritime Services at BAE Systems, has stated that the goal is to create a faster, more capable, flexible, and cost-effective capability that provides navies with a way to protect critical national infrastructure.
Eric Jackson, President at Cellula Robotics, emphasized the importance of autonomous platforms in addressing the evolving challenges of the underwater domain. He also highlighted the recent incidents of subsea aggression as a reminder of the need to safeguard underwater critical infrastructure.
The upcoming demonstration will showcase BAE Systems’ advanced autonomous underwater capability in an intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance scenario.
Sources: BAE Systems, Cellula Robotics