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Aquabotix on fast track for US Government contracts

Underwater drone company Aquabotix now has the inside running when it comes to locking down US Government contracts after the ASX listed tech play joined a consortium of undersea technology leaders that includes Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.

In an update to the ASX this week, the company said it had been accepted as a member of the “Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium”, or “UTIC”, due to its proven ability to contribute to technological developments in support of the defence and security of the US and its allied nations.

UTIC brings together industry and government with the goal of enabling collaborative and rapid development, testing and commercialisation of innovative undersea and maritime technologies.

In June, the consortium locked down the “Other Transaction Authority Agreement” for Undersea Technology Innovation by the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

This enables members to engage in a broad range of undersea and maritime development and prototyping activities, allowing for faster and more efficient delivery of new technologies than traditional US federal procurement requirements would normally permit.

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center is the US Navy’s research, development, test, evaluation, engineering and fleet support centre for its submarines, autonomous underwater systems and undersea weapons systems.

In June, Aquabotix secured USD$78,000 in non-dilutive funding from the Undersea Warfare Center to deliver a solution supporting unexploded ordnance detection missions.

Once developed, the new technology solution will be incorporated into Aquabotix’s key “SwarmDiver” miniature submarine drones or other unmanned underwater vehicles to support unexploded ordnance detection missions by the US Navy and allied forces.

A group of SwarmDivers can be operated as one giant synchronized unit by a single surface operator.

The company has also reached an agreement with the Undersea Warfare Center to use a US Military installation to test and demonstrate its SwarmDivers and other relevant technologies.

Aquabotix Chief Executive Officer Whitney Million said: “We expect that Aquabotix’s innovative offerings and agility as a small business paired with the support of and collaboration with the US Government and other larger defence companies through this Consortium will expand our reach and provide us with important funding opportunities.”

The company has been taking steps to focus its efforts towards larger volume sales from the defence industry.

As part of this drive, it has joined a number of US industry bodies such as The Innovative Undersea Prototype Development Consortium and the South Eastern New England Defense Industry Alliance to strengthen relationships with both partners and potential customers.

This move is well timed with the US Navy saying in April that it is embracing unmanned underwater systems for future combat roles.

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