Israel has made significant strides in developing and producing autonomous submarines, cementing its position as a major player in the field as it unveils its latest autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), dubbed BlueWhale, for the first time.

Built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the BlueWhale unmanned submarine, which the company has categorized as a large autonomous underwater vehicle (LAUV), has completed “thousands of autonomous operation hours,” subsequently proving its seaworthiness.

Like many other powerful countries, Israel’s defense industry has spent decades developing unmanned submarines, investing heavily in research and development (R&D), production, and innovation that will make its technology more capable and reliable.

During a series of sea trials, the BlueWhale LAUV underwent rigorous and long-enduring operation hours, conducting various naval missions. These included intelligence-gathering for both maritime and coastal targets, acoustic intelligence, submarine and sea mine detection, and underwater target search. Moreover, the company reported that for several weeks the autonomous submarine had proven its capabilities by taking on roles typically carried out by crewed submarines, all while significantly reducing the cost and maintenance required, thus demonstrating its potential to improve naval operations without sacrificing resource optimization.