Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Anduril’s first Ghost Shark debuts in Australia

Anduril, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA), and the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) have announced the successful unveiling of the first Ghost Shark manufactured prototype. 

The program is reportedly ahead of schedule and on budget. Anduril aims to deliver an operationally relevant capability within a fraction of traditional defense timelines, and the early creation and testing of the first Ghost Shark has been critical for rapid learning and iteration.

The co-development contract between RAN, DSTG, and Anduril to design and develop the ‘Ghost Shark’ extra-large autonomous undersea vehicles (XL-AUV) in Australia is a momentous advancement. The project is worth $140 million and is expected to be completed in three years. 

Ghost Shark is a highly modular and versatile capability that can adapt to the mission requirements of the Australian Defence Force, which makes it a valuable asset for enhancing defense capabilities. With its flexibility, it can act as an agile force multiplier for Defence.

“The timeline we set to design and produce three Ghost Sharks in three years in Australia, by Australians for the ADF, was extremely ambitious. I am excited to report that we are ahead of schedule and, importantly for a Defence program, we are on a budget,” David Goodrich OAM, Executive Chairman and CEO of Anduril Australia, said. “We’re moving incredibly quickly on this program in lockstep with our ASCA, DSTG, and the RAN partners.”

The RAN will use the Ghost Shark XL-AUV for important missions in the Pacific. This versatile and modular capability can be customized to meet the specific needs of the Australian Defence Force and serve as a valuable asset for their operations. 

The Ghost Shark drone can run autonomously underwater for up to ten days, and reach depths of around 19,685 feet. It can be entirely flooded during operation, while still keeping its key systems and sensors safe in pressured “sanctuaries,” makes it an ideal tool for underwater operations without putting human crew members at risk.

“Ghost Shark is an exemplar of how Defence and Australian industry can move at speed to develop new sovereign capabilities to respond to the challenges before us,” Pat Conroy said. “By transitioning Ghost Shark to ASCA, a clear statement is being made about Defence’s commitment to the program. ASCA is focussed on speeding up the transition of innovation into a capability that will give our Australian Defence Force an edge while creating more jobs for Australians commercializing the technology.”

“This collaboration combines Navy’s expertise, ASCA’s speed to delivery, Defence’s scientific smarts and Anduril Australia’s experience in agile innovation. We are a nation girt by sea, and the Ghost Shark is one of the tools we are developing for the Navy to patrol and protect our oceans and our connection to the world,” Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond said

Delivering the first Ghost Shark prototype ahead of schedule sets a new standard for capability development at the speed of need. Ghost Shark is already well ahead of its three-year development schedule. Early creation and testing of the prototype clearly pays off in terms of rapid learning and iteration. DSTG is playing a key role in contributing its own technologies and expertise to the development of this powerful capability.