Saab Announces New Autonomous and Undersea Systems Division in New US Production Facility

Saab to expand its ROV and UUV capabilities at new US ASW production facility.

01 April 2022


Saab has announced a new 10,000 sq. ft. Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) production facility in Cranston, Rhode Island. The Cranston facility will also house the Autonomous and Undersea Systems Division of Saab, led by industry veteran Jeff Smith, who has worked on  major programs of record for the US Navy as well as “cutting-edge R&D projects within DARPA and the Office of Naval Research", according to his LinkedIn profile.

The new division will significantly increase Saab’s presence in the US, leveraging market-leading capabilities in ASW Training Targets, Remotely Operated Vehicles, Unmanned Underwater Vehicles, and emerging capabilities in Unmanned Surface Vehicles. Saab plans to hire 15-17 people by the end of the year to support its initial work in Rhode Island.  

The US expansion is part of Saab’s strategy for international growth focusing on key operational countries. As the Vice President and General Manager for the Autonomous and Undersea Systems Division,  Jeff  Smith  is tasked with standing up US-based development and production capabilities following a familiar model to Saab’s technology transfer success in radar systems, air traffic management, aerostructures, and land systems.  

The new Saab location is adjacent to partner SyQwest’s headquarters and close to the US Naval Undersea Warfare Centre in Newport, Rhode Island. Saab is partnering with SyQwest, a leading manufacturer of subsea acoustic systems, to leverage the advanced production and test capabilities of its ISO 9001 rated facility.  

“Our new Rhode Island location and partnership with SyQwest allows Saab to focus on rapidly transitioning products in our corporate portfolio from Sweden to the US for further development and production,” said Erik Smith, President and CEO of Saab. “Additionally, our new Autonomous and Undersea Systems Division will enable US specialised variants of proven Saab maritime products to support existing and emerging US military needs. We’re fortunate to have an industry veteran like Jeff Smith leading this division as Vice President and General Manager. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our growing company.”  

Robert Tarini, SyQwest’s chairman, said it sees this collaboration with Saab as a great way to continue to grow its market. “SyQwest’s capabilities align perfectly with Saab to be able to support the development and production of greater volumes of undersea platforms,” he said.