Australia promises $ 2 billion to XL-sized underwater drone in Beijing’s threat

Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton has announced that he will invest $ 2 billion in the development of state-of-the-art unmanned submarine technology amid ongoing tensions in the South Pacific region. At the same time, the minister has promised an additional $ 2 billion to purchase state-of-the-art missile technology to protect naval vessels from anti-ship weapons.

For submarine drones, the Australian Department of Defense will partner with Anduril Australia to design and manufacture three oversized autonomous underwater vehicles (XL-AUVs). The vessel is remotely controlled, 10 to 30 meters long and can carry weapons over long distances.

Such techniques have been tested by the United States (Orca XLUUV) and the United Kingdom (Manta XLUUV) in tasks such as underwater patrols, electronic espionage, and anti-submarine warfare along pre-programmed routes.

Australia may benefit from experience and technology under the AUKUS Agreement.

“This feature has the potential to complement and enhance agility and potency. [Royal Australian] The Navy’s current submarines and carrier-based combat units to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, “said the Defense Minister. statement.. “These vessels also offer the Australian Defense Force (ADF) innovative mission options while presenting destructive and difficult undersea problems to the enemy.”

“There is a clear need for an Australian-manufactured XL-AUV for Australia,” Anduril founder Palmer Luckey said in a statement. “XL-AUV leverages the latest developments in autonomy, edge computing, sensor fusion, propulsion and robotics to bring advanced capabilities to RAN.”

Drone development will be a temporary measure to strengthen the RAN before the arrival of nuclear submarines under AUKUS.

Minister Dutton also promised $ 2 billion to purchase Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM Block 2) with a 50-kilometer range and active radar technology to help identify enemy anti-ship missiles.

The first batch of ESSM has already arrived in Australia for testing purposes and plans to produce weapons in Adelaide, Brisbane, Newcastle, and Melbourne.

The latest arms investment is after Beijing has signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands government, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will station troops, weapons and naval vessels in Pacific countries about 1,700 kilometers from Australia. A city in the north of Cairns that may open the door for.

The Solomon Islands were the site of major battles during World War II, and their significant location and impact on significant sea routes caused more than 7,000 casualties to the Allies.

Experts warned that full implementation of the agreement could cause similar tensions in the South China Sea as well as the South China Sea.

Daniel Y. Ten


Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national politics, including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and relations between Australia and China. Do you have a hint? Contact him at [email protected]