skip to Main Content

France orders UCUV demonstrator from Naval Group

The French defence procurement agency, the Direction Generale de l’Armement (DGA), has awarded Paris-based Naval Group a framework agreement for the design, production and testing of an Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle (UCUV) demonstrator. A first follow-on contract was also signed for the design and development of Naval Group’s Autonomous Decision-Making Process (ADMP) and secure autonomous navigation.

This framework agreement follows on the contract awarded to Naval Group on May 4, 2023 for the study of the main use cases and system architecture of an UCUV.

We will leverage the know-how we acquired in naval unmanned systems over the last ten years, and in particular our XL-UUV demonstrator, which will serve as a platform for technology integration and testing,” said Aurore Neuschwander, Naval Group’s Director of Drones, Autonomous Systems and Underwater Weapons. “This ambitious project will contribute to the creation of a French industry of excellence in naval unmanned systems, of which Naval Group will be one of the federators.”

The first contract under this framework agreement will run for 24 months. It will enable the development of a version of the Autonomous Decision-Making Process (ADMP or ADC© in French, for Autonomie Décisionnelle Contrôlée) designed to strengthen mission planning and monitoring, and secure surface and underwater navigation which are essential functions for an autonomous, enduring, multi-mission system.

Other follow-on contracts are planned in order to develop the technologies needed to meet the challenges of long endurance, underwater detection and sub-order implementation.

Unmanned systems play an increasingly important role in naval combat, providing navies with the technological and tactical superiority they need. With the UCUV project, France joins a very select group of countries engaged in the definition, development and evaluation of a first XL-UUV (Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle). Through this project, the French Ministry of Armed Forces will benefit from technological breakthroughs and innovations in the fields of robotics, drones and artificial intelligence, in order to evaluate a new naval capability that could provide a medium term operational response to new areas of conflict and asymmetric combat.

The XL UUV Demonstrator, whose sea qualification was completed at the end of summer 2023, will be a key component of the UCUV project. It will enable short-cycle evaluation of the technologies, such as ADMP and energy, needed to confirm the technical choices linked to the design of the future UCUV demonstrator. This innovative method will provide agile guidance for the project, enabling the UCUV demonstrator to be built within the defined budget and schedule.

In an environment where communications are limited and sometimes impossible or unwanted, Naval Group has developed ADMP which aims to provide a capability extension to unmanned systems operation in the context of a long-term mission, by enabling them to carry out their missions without remote control, thus making them autonomous systems.

ADMP guarantees compliance with the human operator’s orders in terms of mission objectives, with rules of behaviour and degrees of freedom left to the autonomous system.

Back To Top