The Australian defense forces have taken delivery of the first locally-developed Ocius Bluebottle uncrewed surface vessels.
Delivered by Ocius to the ADF through a Defense Innovation Hub initiative, the vessels were officially handed over in a ceremony attended by defense industry ministry Pat Conroy and assistant minister for defense Matt Thistlethwaite.
Ocius USVs have the ability to navigate freely across oceans worldwide. They are powered by renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and/or wave energy, allowing them to operate persistently and remain at sea indefinitely, limited only by biofouling.
Minister Thistlethwaite said the remaining three Ocius BlueBottle USVs are expected to be delivered by July 2023.
The Australian defense ministry said there are countless potential applications for USVs, ranging across a wide variety of industries and worth billions of dollars. Major players in fields such as offshore energy, defense, and science are investing heavily in these systems for tasks that are considered “dull, dirty, or dangerous.”
The Ocius was first trialed by the Australian military in November last year as part of operation Resolute where it supported surveillance and reconnaissance on and around remote islands off north Western Australia for foreign fishing vessels and evidence of illegal activities.
Ocius says the Bluebottle has a 5 knot hull speed with a 300kg modular payload. It can be launched via boat ramps or ships and has 50W of average payload power.