Sub-Launched "Switchblade" Drone Helps Guide U.S. Subs to Better Kills
December 26, 2011 2:48 PM
Stealthy drone solution can detect enemy ships even in cases where sonar is limited
Modern submarine designs rely on sonar to "see" enemy vessels, but terrain features like ocean banks can obscure vision, preventing reliable hunting. These limitations are common referred to as "line of sight" (LOS) problems.
But the wonders of robotics may soon change that. Drone-maker AeroVironment has
a special maritime-ready unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which stealthily hovers over the sea eying enemy ships and transmitting what it sees to a lurking submarine.
An artist's rendering of the Switchblade drone in flight [Image Source: AeroVironment]
Raytheon Comp. (
) is helping to give the marine drone a leg up, by creating a launch vehicle for it. The submerged launch vehicle (SLV) will jettison from the submarine's trash shoot and quietly make its way to the surface. From there it will eject the UAV into flight.
The new drone is part of a collection of projects dubbed Submarine Over-The-Horizon Organic Capabilities (SOTHOC). In 2008 Raytheon demonstrated similar capabilities from a "over-the-side" launch by a drone-containing SLV thrown literally over the side of a surface vessel.
The SLV is a rather ingenious construct. It consists of weighted ballast, which sinks the craft for a certain amount of time, allowing the submarine to move away from the launch position. After a given amount of time, these weights are released and a float collar inflates, bringing the package to the surface. The delayed release, again, is design to obfuscate the attacker's true location.
A drogue (a parachute like construct) is deployed to steady the SLV amidst the choppy ocean, while a vane aligns it into the wind. The tube's control electronics pivot the surfaced, oriented tube at a 35 angle. The tube then fires, hurling the UAV up into the wind and off on its way.
The Raytheon SLV has a complex launch process design to obfuscate the attacker's location.
[Image Source: Raytheon]
The device will be tested during the
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012
exercise, the latest edition of the world's largest multi-national maritime exercise, conducted biennially on even years in Hawaii. Raytheon is currently perfecting five SLVs and working with AeroVironment to tune its squadron of seven UAVs.
justification and approval
" (J&A) documents indicate that Raytheon in late 2008 conducted a successful launch from periscope depth. The next step is to conduct a launch from a deeper cruising depth.
If Raytheon and AeroVironment can pull off that technical feat in time for RIMPAC 2012, they may just revolutionize sea warfare in a small way and give the U.S. another small technological leg up on its foreign rivals like China.
In related news, similar military research and development work is being put towards
developing unmanned subs
, which in a future war fleet could complement larger human-manned subs, while reducing weight requirements and human life risks.
Aviation Week [URL shortened]
"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
DARPA Program Seeks Creation of Unmanned Ocean Vessels
February 10, 2010, 1:43 PM
PIQ ROBOTTM reveals its new artificial intelligence software
November 29, 2016, 12:59 AM
One more time - Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Around the World
November 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project gets halted for 2016
November 20, 2016, 7:00 AM
Cell Research Study shows African Americans have greater immune response to infection
November 10, 2016, 1:00 AM
UTHealth Clinical Trial Shows Progress Using Stem Cells to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
November 8, 2016, 1:00 AM
Uber Partners with Circulation to Pilot Program Connecting Transportation and Digital Health Care
November 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Surface Pro 5 Rumors - New Release Date and Price
April 22, 2017, 6:45 AM
Apple Watch NikeLab Limited Edition unveiled.
April 22, 2017, 6:20 AM
Motorola Moto G5 Pus – Well Worth Considering Over the Others
April 25, 2017, 7:06 AM
SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 8GD5 – Great Value for the Money
April 20, 2017, 7:47 AM
Meet the Smartphone with four cameras - Alcatel Flashphone
April 5, 2017, 11:20 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Galaxy Note 8 – Available Second Half 2017
Apr 28, 2017, 7:30 AM
Google Android App – Huge improvement on Nighttime Photography
Apr 27, 2017, 7:40 AM
Google Co-Founder, Sergey Brin has an Airship
Apr 26, 2017, 6:43 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus – Lots of Glass that Breaks Easily
Apr 25, 2017, 7:20 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 – Warning for Pet Owners
Apr 24, 2017, 5:59 AM
Sound Bars and the Costs?
Apr 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Link your Brain to Your Computer – In Four Years…Maybe
Apr 22, 2017, 7:03 AM
Google Home can now identify users by their voice.
Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 AM
Amazon Lex – Now Available for Developers.
Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
You can now use Instagram offline on your Android Smartphone
Apr 19, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you can livestream to YouTube from your mobile device.
Apr 18, 2017, 8:05 AM
Google Home – Is It a Spy Device?
Apr 17, 2017, 7:30 AM
Apple added to self –driving test permit list
Apr 15, 2017, 6:21 AM
Project Scorpio – Coming on June 11
Apr 14, 2017, 6:20 AM
Looks Like Samsung Has Been Forgiven.
Apr 13, 2017, 6:50 AM
United Airlines - Blasted on China’s Social Network and the Stock Market
Apr 12, 2017, 6:50 AM
Amazon's Third-Party Sellers Hacked
Apr 11, 2017, 6:25 AM
Microsoft Surface Pro5 Details Revealed
Apr 9, 2017, 6:41 AM
Own An Android Phone? Then you could be hacked over Wi-FI
Apr 7, 2017, 6:47 AM
Apple confirms iOS 10.3 bug and its effect on iCloud Services
Apr 6, 2017, 6:30 AM
Apple Rolls Out New Version of Apple Music
Apr 5, 2017, 10:35 AM
Apple in the News
Apr 4, 2017, 9:03 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information