Navy Launches a Drone from a Submerged Submarine

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posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 06:48 PM
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This is cool. I was aware this project was in the works and thought it had already been launched successfully but here we are…




It took six years to develop and launch an all-electric, fuel cell-powered, folding-wing drone aircraft from a submerged submarine. The eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System, or XFC UAS, was fired from the submarine's torpedo tube using a “Sea Robin” launch system, which is designed to fit within an empty Tomahawk launch canister used for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles.


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I think the edge this gives an amphibious assault force is pretty serious.

Cheers




posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 07:59 PM
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Reckon Uncle Sam might want to be real careful how he uses these.....Hope no shadowing Russian or Chinese attack submarine mistakes a drone launch for an ICBM, 'cos that could end very badly!



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 08:02 PM
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reply to post by squarehead666
 


An ICBM has a VERY distinct launch signature. This won't be anywhere near that signature. There won't be any mistaking this for an ICBM. Chances are a Boomer won't even carry these to begin with though. This is an SSN/SSGN tool more than a Boomer.



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 08:43 PM
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Even so, launching it in the wrong place could easily spark a major diplomatic incident if not an exchange of fire.....How different would the launch be from a cruise missile or tube launched anti-ship/submarine missile?

Plus what's the point? Surely the sort of preliminary info this thing could gather could be as easily acquired by a spy-satellite, without exposing a major asset like a submarine to detection/attack?



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 08:46 PM
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reply to post by squarehead666
 


Satellites are horrible at targeting/BDA, and are predictable. They're horrible ISR platforms, and aren't that great at recon either. Anyone that knows the math knows when they're coming over, and just parks everything in a hangar, or flies it out of the area until it's passed by.



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 08:53 PM
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Very good points, although I was under the impression most military satellites had some ability to manoeuvre, making them rather harder to predict than you suggest?



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 08:55 PM
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reply to post by squarehead666
 


All satellites can maneuver, but the more you maneuver them, the shorter their useful life becomes. Once you're out of fuel, your satellite is dead, it's just a matter of when it comes down.



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 09:08 PM
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All points well made, but this still strikes me as something done 'because we can' rather than in response to any actual need.....Sneaking these things into Russian or Chinese airspace would have no lesser implications than would sending a manned aircraft if they were to be detected/intercepted.

Against pretty much everyone else the US can (and apparently does) operate drones with impunity anyway.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 08:48 AM
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We'll this had no interest when I signed off last night so thanks for the responses here. This first surfaced for me (no pun) in 2010 but lost track of the submarine test. As Zaph said this thing is hardly detectable and I agree it probably won't be used on a boomer.





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