US NAVY LAUNCHES UAV FROM SUBMERGED SUBMARINE
The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) with funding from SwampWorks at the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Defense Rapid Reaction Technology Office has demonstrated the launch of an all-electric, fuel cell-powered UAV from a submerged submarine. The project took about six years to fructify. Operating under support of the Los Angeles class submarine USS Providence and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center-Newport Division, the UAV was fired from the submarine’s torpedo tube using a Sea Robin launch vehicle system. The Sea Robin launch system was designed to fit within an empty Tomahawk launch canister used for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles already familiar to submarine sailors. The XFC is a fully-autonomous, all-electric fuel cell powered folding wing, with an endurance of greater than six hours.