The Naval Innovation Days are dedicated to the naval technologies of tomorrow to prepare the future of naval defence. As the pace of innovation accelerates each year, Naval Group focuses on an open innovation dynamic. The Group’s objectives are to strengthen openness and exchange between several ecosystems, to integrate real advances on board ships more quickly and sustainably, and to provide a real capability advantage in the theatre of operations, as proposed by the new Defence and Intervention frigate.
The underwater threat is becoming a major issue for the navies in the near future. The Oceanic Underwater Drone Demonstrator is a project, developed with Thales, that federates technological developments. One of the main challenges is controlled decision-making autonomy, which will be at the heart of the drone capabilities.
This demonstrator will enable the design, qualification and validation of technological building blocks. This workshop presented at the Naval innovation days highlights the opportunities for agile development, together with the French authorities and our partners, to provide advanced systems dedicated to tomorrow’s underwater warfare.
A first demonstrator – 10 metric tons on the scale, 10 meters long – conducted a first test campaign in February 2021, off the coast of Toulon. The next step is scheduled for 2022, when the drone will be used for an autonomous surveillance mission.
If the trials are successful, the first ocean-going drone could enter service with the French Navy, with which the company will open discussions, by 2025.