Austal Launches Sail-Powered Drone Vessel Built for the U.S. Navy

Austal USA shipyard recently launched a sail-powered drone vessel to conduct long-range unmanned missions for the U.S Navy.

Image Credits: Saildrone

In 2022, Austal and Saildrone Inc. announced a partnership to construct autonomous sail-powered survey vessels.

Per Saildrone, surveyors are made for ocean mapping and maritime domain awareness. They have solar panels and diesel generators to power the sensors, like the multibeam sonar, which can map the seafloor to a depth of 11,000 m. Surveyors built for the U.S Navy also have defence and security payloads, allowing for swift responses in the face of maritime threats.

Saildrone’s surveyor is about 15 tonnes and is around 65 ft long. It has a low-profile hull and is topped by a rigid sail. Saildrone announced this week that the 1st aluminium surveyor USV made in Mobile was launched on Monday. C

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti and Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Christopher J. Mahoney visited Austal and Missipppi shipyards to take a look at the vessel.

Franchetti said in a Navy press release that unmanned assets free up manned assets for more important tasks. She added that it is good to see the high-tech sector collaborating with the traditional shipbuilding industry to deliver cutting-edge vessels.

The Surveyor would assist future naval missions by delivering surface and underwater intelligence for several applications, such as anti-submarine warfare.

Saildrone said that Austal is manufacturing a new surveyor every 6 weeks, and the initial ones would be contracted to the Navy for testing and evaluation in multiple environments.

Saildrone has said that the surveyor can execute missions involving unregulated, unreported and illegal fishing, ensuring maritime safety, enforcing maritime law, SOLAS, border patrols, harbour security, range cleaning, ecosystem monitoring, sanction monitoring, signals intelligence baselining, etc.

Reference: Saildrone

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

About Author

Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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