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Naval Group to conduct study on Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle for French MoD.

| 2023

According to a PR published by Naval Group on June 7, 2023, the French General Directorate for Armament (DGA) entrusted Naval Group with a contract to examine the primary applications and system design of a combat underwater drone, known as the Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle (UCUV).
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of a future Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle. (Picture source: Naval Group)

This preliminary nine-month research contract will aim to establish the main use cases for the UCUV and outline the system structure for an autonomous combat system model.

Drones and autonomous military systems, increasingly seen as valuable strategic tools in naval operations, are being sought after by navies for various tasks including intelligence gathering, surveillance, and even seabed mastering.

Drawing on its proficiency in crafting and developing independent underwater systems, and bringing together many French collaborators, Naval Group has been independently funding the creation of a large underwater drone prototype (XL-UUV) since 2016.

This prototype is set to undergo sea qualification in the summer of 2023, enabling rapid-cycle technological testing. Naval Group, along with its partners, has also developed a unique Controlled Decision Autonomy (ADC®) feature.

Designed to function as the drone's onboard brain, it empowers sailors to safely manage all drones, as well as to plan and execute intricate missions, supplementing manned vessels.

This initial UCUV contract paves the way for further exploration aimed at swiftly establishing the key technological aspects of this type of drone, laying the groundwork for the first demonstrator.

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