Underwater drone maker scores landmark deal with US Navy

Underwater drone maker scores landmark deal with US Navy

ASX-listed underwater drone manufacturer Aquabotix (ASX: UUV) has entered into an agreement with a major United States defence division which could help change the face of modern naval warfare.

Aquabotix signed the cooperative research and development agreement with the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center to test its SwarmDiver product at the Narrangansett Bay Test Facility in Rhode Island.

SwarmDivers are micro unmanned surface vehicles (USV) which operate as a single unit and can be used across several applications that require sensor payloads in defence, oceanography and aquaculture.

Aquabotix CEO Whitney Million says the collaboration is a landmark for the company which is looking forward to demonstrating its to one of the world's largest defence forces.

"We are honoured to be co-operating with the United States Navy and believe that SwarmDiver can be a game changer for the US and allied naval operations."

This is another major international coup for Aquabotix, after adding Hydro Systems Development as a distributor in December 2017 to get its products into Japan.

While profits were a main driver behind the deal, Aquabotix chief development officer Ted Curley said bringing on the distributor was more than just a sales opportunity.

"Our new distributors bring unique industry expertise to our business, and knowledge about many of our primary markets, including aquaculture and defence," says Curley.

"They will be essential partners for Aquabotix as we further expand our channels to sale throughout the world and target new regions impacted by the growing underwater drone market, where we have not conducted sales to date."

Hydro Systems Development, which now represents Aquabotix in Japan, is a developer of underwater sensing systems for both the marine and in-land water sectors.

Aquabotix also maintains an active and growing presence across Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Asia Pacific.

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