As a demonstration of how business is continuing to evolve in the Middle East, a leading Israeli defense manufacturer and a UAE-based defense technology company are forming a strategic alliance to develop advanced unmanned surface vessels.  EDGE Group and Israel Aerospace Industries plan to develop unmanned surface vessels (USV) for the entire range of military and commercial applications.

EDGE working through ADSB, which designs, builds, repairs, maintains, refits and converts naval and commercial vessels, will collaborate with the Israeli defense company to develop the state-of-the-art USVs. ADSB will design the platform, integrate the control systems and payload, and develop the concept of operations. IAI will develop the autonomous control system and integrate various mission payloads to the control system units according to the mission requirements.

Comprising of advanced sensors, sonars, and imaging systems that are integrated into a unified command and control system, the companies said that a USV can operate either remotely, semi-autonomously, or autonomously, requiring no human intervention. Designed to suit all customers’ requirements, the vessel will offer unique capabilities in terms of modularity, payload, range, maneuverability, and performance.

Military applications for the USV include intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, border, and littoral zone patrol, maritime security operations, mine detection and sweeping, submarine detection and anti-submarine warfare, or as a deployment platform for VTOL vehicles. They expect their design to be customized for commercial applications such as oceanography, pollution monitoring, oil and gas exploration, transportation of materials and liquids, search and rescue, fire-fighting, and first interventions.

“We are proud to join hands with EDGE in this endeavor, which is another step towards our growing efforts and partnership in the region,” said Boaz Levy, President and CEO of IAI. “This MoU brings together the best technological know-how from both companies – EDGE Group’s and ADBS’ naval and commercial vessel expertise, and IAI’s expertise in autonomous systems, robotics, and artificial intelligence – for a joint Made in UAE effort, maximizing both companies’ business opportunities and growth.”

Separately, IAI has been developing its Katana system which provides an unmanned solution for the entire range of homeland security and naval applications. Measuring 39 feet, the prototype cruises at a speed of 30 knots with a maximum speed of 60 knots. The Katana Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) system the company says could be installed on different vessels that serve different missions and operate either fully autonomously or as a manned vessel depending on the mission requirements.

Source: The Maritime Executive