Euronaval 2018: iXblue's DriX USV enters defense market

Launched over a year ago on the civilian market, iXblue’s Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV), DriX, proved to be a real game changer and already conducted many successful operations ranging from subsea positioning to bathymetry missions, the French company said at Euronaval 2018. The Defense community soon identified DriX as a real asset which would bring added value on the battlefield while keeping crews out of harm’s way.

ixblue Drix iXblue's DriX USV at Euronaval 2018

Diverging from traditional USVs, DriX offers unmatched seakeeping and high speed transit capabilities (up to 14 knots) thanks to its highly hydrodynamic hull, along with an enhanced autonomy of up to 10 days. Its sensors-embedded gondola, two meters under the surface, ensures optimal data gathering within an exceptionally calm environment. DriX can also host a wide range of payloads. Thanks to its open architecture, it can be tuned to fit the needs of any military integrator and can be used to conduct diverse military operations.

Military bathymetry in peace-time will benefit straight away from everything DriX brings to the market such as enhanced data collection, vessel time savings, and an extended working envelope.

DriX is also an undeniable asset for REA missions. Able to conduct bathymetry at great speed, it will decrease survey time while ensuring optimal data gathering. Launched by the amphibious force beyond the horizon, DriX is perfect for under-cover operations. It can sail stealthily inside the Area of Operation thanks to its reduced radar cross section and heat signature, while working completely independently from the mother ship.

DriX is in a unique position to provide a most needed edge to address the submarines’ technological evolution and proliferation everywhere on the planet, but also the reduction in the number of specialized frigates and destroyers. Discreet, it can detect or deter potential submarines thanks to its abilities to tow new generation passive arrays, to carry active sources or to be part of a multi-static organization.

Thanks to iXblue’s knowledge in underwater detection and navigation, DriX is also in a position to conduct Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) tracking, subsea positioning and detection. As a surface asset, DriX has no communication nor positioning issue. By being geographically close, it can communicate with submerged AUVs and provide them with the accuracy they miss, while also sending back the gathered data to the mine warfare commander.

International initiatives were recently encouraged to address the logistic of Emergency Disaster Relief. For coastal countries or islands, this means access from the sea. And one cannot wait for harbor facilities to be rebuilt before sending in help. To that extent, DriX is also a game changer as it can clear a path to access the pier of a damaged harbor. It can also conduct immediate bathymetric damage assessment of the harbor and coastal submerged infrastructures in order to help prioritize the rebuilding phase.

With DriX, iXblue is providing an additional way to conduct Maritime Operations. Thanks to its LARS, it is either deployed from the coastline, from an amphibious ship dock or from a frigate davit. The system requires few people and its simplicity and efficiency will make DriX as routine and easy to use as a helicopter or a RHIB. Completing and enhancing the existing assets, it will bring the Force provision of warning and bring an extra layer of defense whilst keeping humans in safer environments.

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