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Saab announces licensing agreement for MBARI Long-Range Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Saab announces a new commercial licensing agreement with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) to bring their Long-Range Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (LRAUV) to the US market under the name Tethys. Saab will domestically produce and offer the Tethys vehicle for the oceanographic research, commercial, and defense markets.


Tethys is an innovative, field-ready vehicle capable of travelling more than a thousand kilometers for weeks at a time. MBARI developed this now mature technology over the past decade to better explore, map, and monitor the ocean.

“Saab’s legacy as a world-class manufacturer of underwater systems puts us in a strong position to produce and market Tethys,” said Erik Smith, President and CEO of Saab in the U.S. “This is truly a unique vehicle, with industry-leading persistence and endurance. Saab is looking forward to working alongside the team at MBARI in this new venture.”

Tethys’s low-power transit mode and over-the-horizon, internet-based remote control allows users to launch the vehicles from shore and conduct sophisticated missions at remote locations without a support ship. With a track record of over 40,000 operational at-sea hours logged on MBARI’s LRAUV fleet, this 12-inch diameter AUV can dive up to 1,500 meters below the surface and is capable of larger, more powerful payloads than oceanographic gliders. The platform has demonstrated remarkable mission capabilities, such as sampling environmental DNA, observing and tracking deep-sea animals, and mapping the seafloor at centimeter-scale resolution.

“Much more than a vehicle, Tethys (MBARI LRAUV) is an interactive tech ecosystem capable of taking the lab into the ocean and collecting data in real-time to help inform decision-making on everything from oil spills to toxic algae blooms to the discovery of marine species never observed before. We’re thrilled that this technology will finally be made more broadly available, and we look forward to working with the team at Saab,” said Brett Hobson, MBARI LRAUV Project Manager. 

Tethys can be tailored to satisfy a broad range of subsea missions and requirements, including military applications such as intelligence, surveillance, & reconnaissance (ISR) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), as well as scientific applications such as oceanographic research and environmental monitoring. Tethys can be outfitted with a variety of payloads, including microbial sampling (environmental DNA or eDNA), bioluminescence, active bio-acoustic imaging, water sampling, plankton imaging, and multi-beam mapping.

Saab and MBARI are jointly exhibiting the Tethys (MBARI LRAUV) at the OCEANS 2023 Gulf Coast Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi on September 25 - 28, 2023.

For further information, please contact:

Kevin Boland
Director, Corporate Affairs
+1 (202) 313-8541

Saab is a leading defense and security company with an enduring mission, to help nations keep their people and society safe. Empowered by its 19,000 talented people, Saab constantly pushes the boundaries of technology to create a safer, more sustainable and more equitable world. Saab designs, manufactures and maintains advanced systems in aeronautics, weapons, command and control, sensors and underwater systems.

Saab is headquartered in Sweden. It has major operations all over the world and is part of the domestic defense capability of several nations.

Saab, Inc. is a U.S. based wholly owned subsidiary, delivering advanced technology and systems, supporting the U.S. Armed Forces and the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as international and commercial partners. Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, the company has business units and local employees in seven U.S. locations.

Image Description: MBARI’s long-range autonomous underwater vehicle (LRAUV) underwater during a deployment in Monterey Bay.
Credit: © 2021 MBARI/Monterey Bay Aquarium.