The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory successfully launched a drone from a submerged submarine.
This picture is a real composite of a time-lapse photo taken during the launch, of this all-electric, fuel cell-powered unmanned aerial system (UAS). The XFC unmanned aircraft is vertically launched from a ‘Sea Robin’ launch vehicle attached to the submerged submarine USS Providence. The drone autonomously deploys its X-wing airfoil and assumes a horizontal flight path — which it can sustain for more than 6-hours.
This demonstration took 6 years to produce and was significantly less expensive compared to traditional decade-long programs. Earlier this year, the Navy successfully launched and landed an X-47B drone from the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. George H.W. Bush.
Dr. Warren Schultz, NRL program developer, described this new technology as “an unprecedented paradigm shift in UAV propulsion and launch systems.”