Naval Group Charts Path for Armed Underwater Drones

In a progressive move towards achieving maritime mastery, 's military has entrusted Naval Group with the task of conducting a study on the design of an armed unmanned underwater drone. The contract, bestowed on May 4 by the Armed Forces Ministry's procurement office, the Direction Générale de l'Armement, ushers in a pivotal phase for Naval Group.

Over the next nine months, the study will focus on defining key use cases and crafting system architectures for the Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle (UCUV). With its expected tasks ranging from intelligence gathering to surveillance and reconnaissance, the UCUV aims to offer the French military an effective tool to ‘master' the seabed, as mentioned by Naval Group.

Concurrent with the UCUV study, Naval Group is advancing its work on the extra-large unmanned underwater vehicle (XL-UUV). Initiated in 2016, the project, which first came to light in 2021, is nearing its sea qualification phase set for this summer. The qualified XL-UUV will serve as a testing ground for various short-cycle ‘technological bricks', possibly including the Controlled Decision-Making Autonomy (ADC) – a drone ‘brain' developed in collaboration with France's national aerospace research center, ONERA.

Naval Group stated, “This first UCUV project paves the way for additional work to quickly develop the key technological bricks of such a drone in relation to the development of the first demonstrator.”

Undersea warfare has garnered significant attention in , particularly within French military circles. France took the lead by releasing a dedicated military strategy for the ocean floor in early 2022. The nation's proposed 2024-2030 Military Program Law allocates a significant portion of its €10 billion ($10.7 billion) innovation fund towards this domain, with an emphasis on creating an capable of reaching depths of 6,000 meters.

The bill, known as the Loi de Programmation Militaire (LPM) in French, has already won the approval of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, with a 408-87 vote. It will now proceed to the Senate for the final vote.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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