Austal Australia teams up with Saildrone for new Surveyor USV

According to a PR published by Austal on April 14, 2023, the Australian part of the firm and Saildrone Inc. have entered an exclusive Teaming Agreement to jointly identify opportunities to collaborate on the manufacture of the 20-metre Saildrone Surveyor, in Australia, for deployments in the Indo-Pacific region.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Saildrone Surveyor Uncrewed Surface Vehicle. (Picture source: Saildrone)

Saildrone is the world leader in long-endurance, uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), having amassed nearly 1 million miles and 25,000 days at sea with its 120-strong fleet.

Saildrone Inc is based in the United States of America but will be establishing Saildrone Australia in 2023 to cater to the commercial and government sector in Australia and the broader Indo-Pacific Region.

The company entered a strategic partnership with Austal USA in August 2022 to construct Saildrone Surveyor USVs at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

This new Teaming Agreement in Australia builds upon the successful partnership in the United States and further strengthens the relationship between the two companies in the development and construction of uncrewed surface vehicle technology.

The Saildrone Surveyor USV is 20 metres long and designed specifically for deep ocean mapping and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) applications, above and below the surface. The Surveyor is autonomous and uncrewed, offering extreme endurance, reliability, and cost-effective operations.

It carries a sophisticated array of acoustic instruments for both shallow and deep-water ocean mapping, including the Kongsberg EM 304 multibeam echo sounder capable of mapping the seafloor down to 7,000 meters below the surface.

The Surveyor is also equipped with two state-of-the-art Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) to measure ocean currents and understand what is in the water column.

In addition, the Surveyor is equipped with the Simrad EK80 echo sounder for fish stock assessments. The Surveyor uses renewable solar energy to power its sensor suite, delivering an equivalent survey capability at a fraction of the cost and carbon footprint of a traditional survey ship and without putting human health and safety at risk.