Sub-Launched Micro UAV Developed By Spawar
By tom kington
A micro-UAV that can be floated to the surface from a submerged submarine and then fired from a tube has been developed by U.S. researchers, an official said at a pre-Singapore Airshow conference.
The project, which was launched by the U.S. Navy's SPAWAR Systems Center in San Diego, started debugging in December after a 150 day trial period, said SPAWAR official Daniel Sura at the Unmanned Systems Asia-Pacific conference organized here by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
SPAWAR researchers succeeded in floating to the surface, from a depth of 40 ft, a buoy in which a firing tube was stationed and which contained a Tacmav micro-UAV with its wings folded. Controlled by a cable attached to the buoy, the UAV was then launched.
The Tacmav, which has been deployed by U.S. forces in Iraq, can fly at 80 kmh with 30 minutes autonomy and is produced by Applied Research Associates (ARA), New Mexico.
Sura said that the system was designed to be launched by divers, from a submarine or from an unmanned undersea vehicle. The cable linking the buoy to the launch vehicle or divers had been developed for command and control purposes, but could also be developed as a data link to the UAV, he said.
Coming trials would be undertaken using ARA's larger Nighthawk UAV and possibly other UAV types, he added.