Feeds

Submerged Navy submarine successfully launches drone from missile tubes

Das Dröne

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A US Navy submarine has managed to launch a reconnaissance drone without surfacing, a technique that could revolutionize the ability of submersibles to reconnoiter – or to wreak havoc.

Submarine drone launch

Attack sub pops one off (click to enlarge)

The drone, snappily entitled the eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System (XFC UAS), was launched from the vertical missile tubes of a Los Angeles class attack submarine, the USS Providence. Coincidentally, the submarine – nicknamed "Mighty P" – was the first submarine of its type to be fitted with vertical launch tubes, originally designed for anti-ship missiles.

The fuel cell-powered drone was encased in a Sea Robin launch vehicle which fell away once the payload breached the surface, whereupon the drone's wings folded out for flight. During Thursday's test the drone flew for more than two hours while broadcasting video back to the submarine, but it has the endurance to fly for six hours at a time.

"This six-year effort represents the best in collaboration of a Navy laboratory and industry to produce a technology that meets the needs of the special operations community," said Dr. Warren Schultz, program manager at the Naval Research Laboratory.

"The creativity and resourcefulness brought to this project by a unique team of scientists and engineers represents an unprecedented paradigm shift in UAV propulsion and launch systems," Schultz said.

The drone launch is part of the Navy's plan to expand the capabilities of its submarine fleet. While subs can gather intelligence on their surroundings using sonar or acoustics, the ability to get a birds-eye view of the surrounding oceans could be very useful for combat or reconnaissance. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases
Uncle Larry's mutually-optimised stack to become clearer in August
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.