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Indo Pacific 2022: Thales, Ocius Technologies partner to develop unmanned ASW capability for Australia

Ocius Technologies' Bluebottle USV (shown above) will be integrated with Thales Australia's new thin line fibre optic towed array capability for carrying out ASW and ISR missions. (Ocius Technologies)

Thales Australia has entered into a partnership agreement with Ocius Technologies “to advance the development and deployment” of a team of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), which will have the potential to carry out anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and surveillance missions.

In a media release on 10 May, during the Indo Pacific 2022 exhibition in Sydney, Thales Australia said that this USV capability termed as the ‘Blue Sentry autonomous system' can assist the Australian Defence Force (ADF) by being “deployed from shore to autonomously patrol large areas of Australia's coastline, performing underwater ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] missions for long periods of time at sea, and in extreme weather conditions”.

The system's detection capabilities can facilitate covert communication with underwater allies using long-range low-frequency underwater communications, Thales Australia noted.

“Missions that would have previously required the deployment of peopled assets for many days to [be] completed can be conducted remotely” at a reduced cost of coverage using the Blue Sentry autonomous system, Thales Australia added.

Thales Australia said the Blue Sentry autonomous system comprises a team of Ocius Technologies' Bluebottle USVs integrated with Thales Australia's new thin line fibre optic towed array (FOTA) capability.

According to Janes Unmanned Maritime Vehicles, Ocius Technologies' Bluebottle USVs operate on energy harvested from the sun, wind, and the waves, and can remain at sea for months at a time. Besides ASW and ISR, other military applications of the Bluebottle USV include electronic warfare (EW), mine countermeasure (MCM), and communications gateway.

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