Shinmaywa has secured a Japanese government contract to research an unmanned amphibian that will serve as a mothership for autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUVs).

The company, which produces the US-2 amphibian for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, says it secured the award in July 2023.

Shinmaywa amphibian unmanned

Source: Shinmaywa

Artist’s impression of Shinmaywa’s planned unmanned amphibian. The company produces the world’s second largest amphibian, the US-2

Following the definition of specific research topics, a five-year research contract has been signed.

Agencies involved in the programme are the Japan Science and Technology Agency, National Research and Development Agency, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

The company aims to develop an “unmanned flying boat” that can transport, launch, and retrieve AUVs. The aircraft must be able to take off and land autonomously.

Shinmaywa indicates that the AUVs will operate below the surface of the ocean, monitoring Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

“To date, we have prototyped and developed multiple aircraft, and have used the technology cultivated through the design and manufacture of the US-2 type rescue flying boat, and in recent years, we have designed, manufactured, and conducted test flights of various unmanned aircraft in our own research and development,” says Shinmaywa.

“We aim to realise this transportation system by utilising our know-how.”