Thales Australia and Ocius Technologies have entered a Teaming Agreement to advance the development and deployment of a scalable Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) capability equipped for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and surveillance missions – helping to protect Australia’s borders.
The Australian designed and manufactured Blue Sentry autonomous system, comprising a team of Ocius Bluebottle USVs integrated with Thales Australia’s new thin line Fibre Optic Towed Array capability, are deployed from shore to autonomously patrol large areas of Australia’s coastline, performing underwater ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) missions for long periods of time at sea, and in extreme weather conditions.
Missions that would have previously required the deployment of peopled assets for many days to complete will be able to be conducted remotely using the Blue Sentry team of Autonomous Vessels at a significantly reduced cost of coverage.
Benefitting from more than 35 years of investment in sovereign towed array innovation in Australia by Thales, the Royal Australian Navy and DST Group, traditional Towed Array capability was first deployed on the Collins Class Submarine to enable advanced threat detection and classification at sea.
In both form and function, Thales’s sovereign thin line Fibre Optic Towed Array is a miniaturised version of a submarine Fibre Optic Towed Array, enabling autonomous detection, classification and localisation of craft on the surface or below the water that generate acoustic noise or produce acoustic reflections. The Blue Sentry system’s autonomous detection capabilities also enable covert communication to allies below the surface using long-range low frequency underwater communications. The newly developed thin line Towed Array is designed, developed and manufactured at Thales Australia’s Acoustics Centre of Excellence at Rydalmere in New South Wales.
Thales has been working collaboratively with Ocius since 2013 on the role of the USV in ASW - the Bluebottle is a standout USV platform for long-term maritime mission endurance.
Chris Jenkins, Chief Executive, Thales Australia and New Zealand said, “The detection and classification of modern undersea threats at tactically useful ranges requires a highly optimised balance between the sensor and the platform to ensure success in the most challenging of acoustic environments. The specialist teams within Ocius and Thales Australia have worked to bring their respective capabilities together into the Australian designed and manufactured Blue Sentry product and we look forward to taking it into the future.”
Robert Dane, Founder and Chief Executive of Ocius Technology said, “If you can imagine a map of Australia with Blue Sentry Bluebottles scattered about the Exclusive Economic Zone where illegal vessels know if they enter our waters, they will get stung. This is not only Australian Sovereign capability it is the best. This is the quietest and most capable persistent USV platform combined with the best array.”
About Thales Australia
Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management and ground transport systems to security systems and services. Thales Australia employs around 3,800 people directly and supports over 2,051 jobs along its Australian supply chain. In 2020 Thales Australia spent $657 million with 1,841 Australia suppliers, of which 82% are SMEs. Since 2018 Thales Australia has spent over $1.9 billion with local Australian businesses.
Thales Australia has a history of patient investment to build advanced in-country capability across manufacturing, critical systems and services. Close collaborative relationships with local customers, Australian SME suppliers and research institutions combined with technology transfer from our global business enables Thales to tailor high-quality solutions for Australian and export markets, generating revenue of $1.6 billion in exports over the past 10 years.
Ocius Technology Ltd (formerly Solar Sailor Holdings Ltd) is an Australian public unlisted company with Construction and Research and Development facilities at the University of NSW.
Ocius is working with Thales Australia, testing new Thales thin line arrays and deploying them via the unique Bluebottle keel winch to significant and varying depths.