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Australia names its first unmanned submarine Ghost Shark

Ghost Shark Anduril
Photo: Royal Australian Navy

The autonomous robotic undersea warfare vehicle defense technology company Anduril Industries is building for the Royal Australian Navy will be named Ghost Shark.

The name was revealed on December 12 during an event at Anduril Australia, which is collaborating with the Australian Navy and Defence Science and Technology Group on the project.

By naming its high-profile unmanned system Ghost Shark, the Navy is following the Royal Australian Air Force, which earlier named its loyal wingman drone as the Ghost Bat.

Defence scientists, Navy personnel and Anduril robotics specialists will work together under a co-funded arrangement to produce three prototypes of the extra-large autonomous underwater vehicles (XL-AUVs). The US$100 million collaboration was first announced in May this year.

The December ceremony in Sydney featured a US-made ‘Dive-LD’ autonomous submarine, which will be the testbed vehicle for the development of the vessels.

Head of Navy Capability Rear Admiral Peter Quinn said the stealthy, multi-role vessels, typically between 10 and 30 meters long, represented a new undersea warfare capability for Navy.

“They have the capacity to remain at sea undetected for very long periods, carry various military payloads and cover very long distances,” Rear Admiral Quinn said.

Joining other autonomous systems, as Navy invested in smart AI-enabled technologies, he said Ghost Shark would be a game-changer.

“The vessels will provide militaries with a persistent option for the delivery of underwater effects in high-risk environments, complementing our existing crewed ships and submarines, as well as other future uncrewed surface vessels,” he said.

Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro said the project was an example of Defence’s innovation system in action.

“By Defence Science and Technology Group collaborating with our industry, we are able to co-develop critical capability that meets our specific needs much faster,” Professor Monro said.

Anduril will complete its testing on the submarines over the coming three years in Sydney with continued support from the Australian Defense Ministry.