Pushing the envelope of drone technology requires creativity and Lockheed Martin has demonstrated they have it in spades when they successfully launched the first underwater unmanned aircraft launch from an unmanned underwater vehicle. Conceptually it’s simple, a Marlin MK2 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) launches a Vector Hawk drone (UAV), however the real world implementation is just a little bit harder.
The question of how to launch drones over the ocean has been a lingering technical problem as the U.S. military has scaled up its interest in unmanned system. But Lockheed Martin just launched a small aerial drone out over the ocean through another drone, showing the possibilities of cross-domain drone launches.
The Marlin MK2 autonomous underwater vehicle, shown here at an event sponsored by the U.S. Navy, was able to launch a Vector Hawk, a small aerial drone, from the surface of the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. “This signifies the versatility of Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems to communicate seamlessly across domains to conduct a diverse set of missions in all environments. The capability is quickly reconfigured in the field,” says Kevin Schlosser, chief architect of unmanned systems at Lockheed, in a press release. “In a short time, we enabled these systems to work together by rapidly changing sensor packages.”
Here is the Lockheed Martin system in action:
Lockheed Martin Conducts First Underwater Unmanned Aircraft Launch from Unmanned Underwater Vehicle
As shown in the video, the launch was successful, making it the first underwater unmanned aircraft launch from an unmanned underwater vehicle.
Lockheed Martin successfully launches Vector Hawk, a small, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), on command from the Marlin MK2 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) during a cross-domain command and control event hosted by the U.S. Navy. In addition to Marlin and Vector Hawk, the Submaran, an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) developed by Ocean Aero, provided surface reconnaissance and surveillance. This effort marks a milestone in showing that an unmanned aircraft, surface vessel and undersea vehicle can communicate and complete a mission cooperatively and completely autonomously.
This is very cool tech and I’m sure this has got the U.S. Navy salivating.
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About Lockheed Martin
At Lockheed Martin, we solve complex challenges, advance scientific discovery and deliver innovative solutions to help our customers keep people safe.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.