The Australian Navy has signed a contract with US military contractor Anduril to develop and build a large bus-sized underwater drone, the XL-AUV.
It will be a multifunctional platform, on which several types of equipment will be installed to perform a whole range of tasks offline for up to a week, from reconnaissance to monitoring underwater infrastructure.
According to Anduril, the cost of the project is estimated at $100 million. Three versions of the XL-AUV are planned to be developed. The company intends to meet within three years and, if possible, save money. True, for this you will have to “sacrifice” something – in particular, tightness. In other words, the developers intend to abandon the durable waterproof case.
However, this is a fairly common design decision. According to specialists from Nautilus Drydocks (specializing in the development of remote-controlled underwater vehicles – eg. Tekhkult), packing the stuffing of an underwater drone into a sealed case is quite difficult and creates unnecessary inconvenience during maintenance.
It is much easier to abandon the waterproof case, but place individual drone modules inside it in a sealed package. For example, if one of them fails, it will be easier to replace it than all the “wet” equipment.
In the case of the XL-AUV, all of its engineering pieces of stuff will be housed in several sealed, high-pressure-resistant cases the size of a gas cylinder.
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