Anduril pairs with Korean shipbuilder to design new unmanned platforms

Anduril pairs with Korean shipbuilder to design new unmanned platforms

U.S. defense tech company Anduril Industries and South Korean shipbuilder HD Hyundai Heavy Industries said they’re teaming up to reimagine and expand American and allied seapower.

The collaboration could take many forms, including pairing current Anduril software capabilities with Hyundai’s manned and unmanned platforms, according Anduril Chief Strategy Officer Christian Brose, who told Defense News the companies — one predominantly focused on hardware, the other on software — are “phenomenally complementary.”

“What Hyundai brings in terms of its world-leading shipbuilding expertise, mass manufacturing capability, and just modern shipbuilding practices — paired with what Anduril has been able to do on the design of new programs, the mission autonomy and software side of it, and then the broader missionization of platforms, sensors, comms, weapons, and then how those become useful to generate mission outcomes — I think really lend themselves well together,” he said in an April 15 interview.

More exciting, Brose said, is “conceiving, designing, developing and building new types of systems, and I think that’s where a lot of the energy of this partnership is going to go.”

He said leaders from both companies hoped to look beyond their current portfolios and consider new ideas that would help create more seapower and more deterrence for the Republic of Korean Navy and the U.S. Navy, including work with large unmanned surface and undersea vehicles.

Brose noted that his company’s largest offering to the Navy, the Dive-LD UVV, is small in size compared to what Hyundai typically builds. Still, Hyundai’s ability to mass produce ships using world-leading manufacturing processes opens the door to a lot of possibilities for very large unmanned or optionally manned systems for the navies, he said, noting the collaboration would question “what are the types of capabilities that are missing that we could create together and do quickly.”

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro has cited Hyundai as a global leader in shipbuilding that he wants to see the U.S. work with, specifically through the company buying an American shipyard and overhauling it to reflect their modern manufacturing processes and technologies.

Though that’s not what this partnership with Anduril will do, Brose noted the general climate in the Navy that’s open to innovative ideas and said he hopes the sea service will be open to whatever new ideas Anduril and Hyundai ultimately develop and pitch.

“I’ve never seen a time where people are more open and interested to doing different things, having different ideas and approaches, and being willing to entertain things that even five years ago people would have said is just off the table,” he said.

According to Anduril’s news release, HD Hyundai has five decades of experience in developing and producing commercial vessels, warships, submarines, and other maritime systems, and is the largest company in the South Korean shipbuilding industry — which today builds the second-most ships in the world, second only to China.

Anduril has developed a family of low-cost autonomous military systems and weapons built on its Lattice software platform, which delivers AI-enabled sensor fusion, mission autonomy, distributed network management, and command and control for robotic systems.

Megan Eckstein is the naval warfare reporter at Defense News. She has covered military news since 2009, with a focus on U.S. Navy and Marine Corps operations, acquisition programs and budgets. She has reported from four geographic fleets and is happiest when she’s filing stories from a ship. Megan is a University of Maryland alumna.

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