Photo: Ben Simpson alongside the XL-class USV hull at the production facility in Essex. Source: SEA-KIT

SEA-KIT triples USV production capacity with launch of new facility

SEA-KIT has put into operation its new production facility for the XL-Class uncrewed surface vessel (USV), which tripled the company’s production capacity and expanded its R&D area.

SEA-KIT opened the new building, built alongside its existing base in Tollesbury, Essex, UK, on 1 October 2022.

According to the company, the first 18-meter hull is being fitted out, expected to be delivered this summer to Fugro.

“It is great to go into 2023 with the new facility up and running. With the addition of this building, we have tripled production capacity and expanded our R&D area,” said Ben Simpson, SEA-KIT’s CEO.

“It gives us more, much-needed space for the ongoing development of launch and recovery systems for ROVs and AUVs, mast gondolas and sensor deployment systems, as well as enhancing manufacturing efficiencies for multiple USV builds.”

SEA-KIT, which has recently been granted patents for its X and XL-Class designs, said it had also significantly invested in people over the last six months, with new starters joining the technical, design, operations and administration teams.

The team will soon be preparing the company’s testing and research vessel USV Maxlimer for its next mission, following a subsea volcano survey project in Tonga in August.

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In June 2022, SEA-KIT revealed a new USV design said to be the next step towards the company’s goal of zero-emission vessels.

The H-class USV, featuring a retractable gondola and dual sensor deployment options, is said to be a highly configurable design based on operational data and feedback collected from SEA-KIT’s X-class USVs.