Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) is pleased to announce that Austal Australia and Saildrone Inc. have entered an exclusive Teaming Agreement to jointly identify opportunities to collaborate on the manufacture of the 20 meter Saildrone Surveyor, in Australia, for deployments in the Indo-Pacific region.

Saildrone is the world leader in long-endurance, uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), having amassed nearly 1 million miles and 25,000 days at sea with its 120-strong fleet. Saildrone Inc is based in the United States of America but will be establishing Saildrone Australia in 2023 to cater to the commercial and government sector in Australia and the broader Indo-Pacific Region.

The company entered a strategic partnership with Austal USA in August 2022 to construct Saildrone Surveyor USVs at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. This new Teaming Agreement in Australia builds upon the successful partnership in the United States and further strengthens the relationship between the two companies in the development and construction of uncrewed surface vehicle technology.

Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the Teaming Agreement was a logical move and an excellent opportunity for Austal Australia and Saildrone to collaborate.

“This Agreement allows us to bring Saildrone Surveyor manufacturing to Australia, building in parallel with Austal USA. This increases our ability to rapidly scale to meet the demands we anticipate in the Indo-Pacific region. This industry-leading technology complements our work in the Patrol Boat Autonomy Trial and strengthens our capabilities overall in the autonomous naval vessel market,” Mr Gregg said.

Saildrone Inc.’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Richard Jenkins is an Australian National, having grown up in the southwest of Western Australia. Mr Jenkins went to school mainly in the UK and moved to America in 2009 to start the business. “It is fantastic to be bringing technology, innovation, and investment back to Australia, and specifically to my home city of Perth,” said Mr Jenkins.

“I am very excited to have Austal Australia as a partner and to explore the possibilities to put our vehicles to work for Australia and our partners in the wider Indo-pacific Region.”

The Saildrone Surveyor USV is 20 meters long and designed specifically for deep ocean mapping and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) applications, above and below the surface. The Surveyor is autonomous and uncrewed, offering extreme endurance, reliability, and cost-effective operations.

This ASX announcement has been approved and authorized for release by Paddy Gregg, Austal Limited’s Chief Executive Officer.