C2 Robotics’ Speartooth Large Uncrewed Underwater Vessel (LUUV) continues to push the boundaries of real-world performance for autonomous underwater systems and is now conducting more challenging trials.
C2 Robotics’ Chief Technology Officer Dr Tom Loveard said, ‘Based on last year’s successes and our continued program of enhancing Speartooth’s performance, we are confident we can provide customers with a minimum viable capability that can deliver real world effects in 2024.’
The previous tranche of Department of Defence funding approved in 2023 allowed C2 Robotics to produce Generation 2 vessels. A new funding tranche has been awarded in January 2024 to support activities to progress the system towards operational readiness.
New, extended range Gen 2 versions of Speartooth, each equipped with two modular payload bays, are completing production. Using one of the bays to hold additional batteries provides Speartooth with greatly extended range and endurance. This allows it to access Australia’s area of primary military interest from the Australian mainland.
Dr Loveard said, ‘We have a very busy program ahead of us this year. We’ll put our new Gen 2 Extended Range vessels in the water next month. Our highest priority is to work with our partners in Defence to push the envelope of performance in the open ocean.’
Since the first Speartooth prototype entered the water almost two years ago, Speartooth has achieved nearly 50% performance improvements in efficiency, which translates into enhanced range and endurance. C2 Robotics anticipates further improvements from the latest funding.
C2 Robotics’ Director of Strategy Dr Marcus Hellyer said, ‘We are now seeing the benefits of ‘’the small, the smart and the many’’ being achieved. Small investments can rapidly provide huge improvements in performance. That means you don’t need decades to deliver real capability.’
C2 Robotics is now working with Australian industry partners to establish commercial-scale production of Speartooth. Dr Loveard noted, ‘The beauty of the Speartooth system is that it can be manufactured in Australia at existing facilities. We can leverage the great Australian manufacturing capability that’s here already supporting sectors like the mining industry and defence. This means we don’t need to spend time and money setting up new, dedicated facilities. It also means production can be rapidly scaled up to deliver affordable force mass.’
C2 Robotics expects announcements in the near future regarding manufacturing partnerships and pilot production outcomes from efforts underway as part of this funding round.
The funding will also allow C2 Robotics to work with Australian defence industry partners who produce military payloads, further expanding the utility and possible mission sets of the Speartooth system. A focus will be on low cost, scalable payloads that can be manufactured quickly and at high volume to compliment the Speartooth design philosophy.
Dr Hellyer said, ‘The 2023 Defence Strategic Review specifically identified uncrewed persistent, long-range undersea warfare capabilities as critical to the Australian Defence Force. The Gen 2 Speartooth LUUV shows that autonomous underwater systems that can deliver meaningful effects across Australia’s area of primary military interest are here today.’
Speartooth is designed for long range, long duration undersea operations. It brings a combination of highly advanced capabilities together with a modular, rapidly reconfigurable design specifically focused on manufacturing scalability and a revolutionary cost point that enables high volume production and deployment.
Dr Loveard said, ‘We’d like to thank our sponsors in Defence for their support and assistance. Once again, the Speartooth program has shown what can be achieved when Defence and industry work closely together. We look forward to making further strides together in 2024.’
Captain Adam Allica, Director General of Warfare Innovation at the Royal Australian Navy, recently spoke at a Hudson Institute discussion on AUKUS Pillar 2 technologies and discussed the Speartooth program. He said C2 Robotics was a ‘great sovereign SME that came to Navy with a good idea about 2 and 1/2 years ago. They had a great pedigree in taking great ideas and implementing them at speed. We backed that company and they have been incredible in the results they have achieved in less than two years.
Featured Photo: C2 Robotics founders with a Speartooth Large Uncrewed Underwater Vessel at a test activity.