ExpoDefensa 2019: iXBlue DRIX modern Unmanned Surface Vessel USV for Naval Forces


At ExpoDefensa 2019, International Defense and Security Exhibition in Colombia, French Company IXblue presents its DriX autonomous Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) for Naval Forces that can be used to perform Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Mine Warfare (MW) missions.


iXBlue DRIX modern Unmanned Surface Vessel USV for Naval Forces ExpoDefensa 2019 925 001
Ixblue DRIX Unmanned Surface Vessel (Picture source iXblue)


Launched over a year ago on the civilian market, iXblue’s Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV), DriX, proved to be a real game-changer and already conducted many successful operations ranging from subsea positioning to bathymetry missions. The Defense community soon identified DriX as a real asset which would bring added value on the battlefield while keeping crews out of harm’s way.

The USV can be deployed beyond the horizon by naval forces to perform a range of maritime operations in both coastal and shallow waters by keeping the crew in safer environments. It can operate independently or as part of a group.

The DriX unmanned surface vessel is built with Kevlar-reinforced composite resins using a vacuum infusion technique. It has an overall length of 7.7 m, a beam of 0.7 m, and a displacement of 1.4 t. A 250 l fuel tank is carried at the stern. The DRIX can be launched from patrol boats or frigates. Its launch, recovery, refueling, and sensor data collection are performed using a dedicated launch and recovery system (LARS) developed by DriX.

The DriX unmanned surface vessel is equipped with FLS Series mine obstacle and avoidance sonar to detect, track and classify underwater objects such as unmanned underwater vessels, submarines, torpedoes, patrol boats, and mines. Side-Scan sonar is also fitted to search a large area of the seafloor and produce images of objects in shallow waters, while the physical characteristics of the ocean floor are determined using a sub-bottom profiler.

The towed array light sonar onboard the vessel can communicate with other submerged autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and submarines.

DriX USV is in a unique position to provide the most needed edge to address the submarines’ technological evolution and proliferation everywhere on the planet, but also the reduction in the number of specialized frigates and destroyers. Discreet, it can detect or deter potential submarines thanks to its abilities to tow new generation passive arrays, to carry active sources or to be part of a multi-static organization.

Thanks to iXblue’s knowledge in underwater detection and navigation, DriX is also in a position to conduct Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) tracking, subsea positioning and detection. As a surface asset, DriX has no communication nor positioning issue. By being geographically close, it can communicate with submerged AUVs and provide them with the accuracy they miss, while also sending back the gathered data to the mine warfare commander.



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