As part of the U.S. Navy’s big push to integrate drones into its fleet, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory has successfully launched a drone from an underwater submarine. The technology–which enables improved ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance)–was funded by SwampWorks, a program of the Office of Naval Research. Propelled from the torpedo tube of the USS Providence, the drone is housed inside a “Sea Robin launch vehicle” which it then frees itself from upon surfacing. Powered by electric fuel cells, the drone then streams live video feed back to the submarine.
“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 Warren Schultz, program developer and 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 (unmanned aerial vehicle) propulsion and launch systems.” More on this story here.