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Saab Global

The Road to Rhode Island – How Autonomous and Undersea Systems is the Next Success Story for Saab in the U.S.

3 min read

How is the next generation of U.S. Navy submarine sonar operators being trained to identify threat submarines? The answer is Saab.


Saab was recently awarded a new ten-year contract with a potential value of USD $173.2 million from the U.S. Navy for the MK39 Expendable Mobile Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Training Target (EMATT). EMATT is an unmanned, underwater vehicle used in warfare training to mimic the acoustics and signals of a submarine so sonar operators can train themselves to track threats. Saab will lead the production of approximately 1,000 EMATTs a year over the next ten years with a sharp focus on delivering a high-quality and efficient product for the U.S. Navy.

For Saab, the EMATT contract is the next step in bringing new capabilities and manufacturing – and new engineering and manufacturing jobs – to the United States. Located in Cranston, Rhode Island, our brand-new, 10,000 square foot facility will soon be up and running, providing the U.S. Department of Defense with customizable solutions and employing around 20 engineers, hands-on manufacturing technicians, and other professionals.

This new facility is next door to our partner, SyQwest, the experts in the acoustics manufacturing space and a key supplier for the EMATT. Saab and SyQwest will be able to collaborate seamlessly on the development and manufacturing of the EMATT. Combining forces and leveraging existing resources also allows us to provide a significant long-term cost savings for the U.S. Navy.

“Rhode Island is the center of the universe for the development of maritime equipment, with its beautiful and expansive coastline,” said Jeff Smith, Vice President and General Manager of Saab’s Autonomous and Undersea Systems Division. “The proximity to our customer, the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center in nearby Newport, allows for a collaborative, in-person relationship. With Rhode Island’s unified and unparalleled commitment to creating more Research & Development jobs across the state, it makes perfect sense to grow our business here.”

Saab’s leadership continually strives to identify the U.S. Navy’s existing requirements and anticipate their emerging needs. This paradigm allows Saab to be agile and rapidly building and improving, and, when needed, to organically develop and customize the exact solutions the U.S. Navy wants and needs. As we continue the transfer of knowledge and technology, and leverage Swedish investments, we fully anticipate future growth and development opportunities, including creating more jobs across the United States – and in Rhode Island.