Military Review

In the US, created a drone that can take off from a submarine

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5 December 2013, the official representatives of the United States Navy reported that in early August of this year, the submarine successfully launched an unmanned Aerial System XFC UAS unmanned aerial vehicle. Tests of the newest apparatus were conducted by the US Naval Research Laboratory (US Naval Research Laboratory) as part of the financing of the SwampWorks program of the Rapid Reaction Technology Office and the Department of Naval Research (Office of Naval Research) of the US Department of Defense.


The uniqueness of the launch is that it was carried out from a submerged position. The drone was launched from the torpedo compartment of the Providence submarine, belonging to the Los Angeles class, using a delivery system called Sea Robin. This system was designed to fit inside an empty launch canister, the same one used to launch Tomahawk missiles from a submarine. During the flight, a UAV launched from a submarine transferred reconnaissance video to the boat, auxiliary ships and to the American base in Norfolk (Va.). An autonomous electric fuel cell, which is designed for at least 6 operating hours of the device, acted as a power unit for the drone. The UAV landed at the American naval base in the Bahamas, on the island of Andros.

The launch of the container from the board of the submarine is carried out using a standard 533-mm torpedo tube. After separation from the launch container, the Sea Robin system, with the XFC drone inside, floated to the surface, and then took up a vertical position, which is similar to a floating pole. On command, which comes from the boat, a vertical launch of the device is carried out, and for several hours it flies over the surface of the ocean.

In the US, created a drone that can take off from a submarine
Los Angeles class submarine

The XFC UAS unmanned system is an autonomous, all-electric system that operates using fuel cells. Unmanned aerial vehicle has folding wings. According to the developers of this model, the use of fuel cells in its design is an unprecedented shift in stories development of modern starting and propulsion systems for UAVs. Of interest is the fact that not only the flight of the drone itself, but also its take-off is carried out using electricity. Due to this, the device has a very small number of unmasking signs. The XFC UAS drone will be quite difficult to detect. At the same time, a negative feature of electric aircraft that operate on fuel cells is a relatively short flight time and a small payload. American engineers still have a lot of work to do in this direction.

According to information contained in an official press release, the first successful launch of an ocean-based drone from an underwater position is the next step on the path to strengthening intelligence systems, reconnaissance and surveillance systems for American underwater fleet. It is reported that the system being developed is of a reconnaissance nature and does not imply the presence of any weapons.

The first reports of the US Navy about the work on the XFC UAS system date back to August 2009. Then in the published material it was said that the specialists of the US Naval Research Laboratory successfully conducted six-hour flight tests of the XFC unmanned system, which was shown as part of the conference of the International Association of Unmanned Systems (AUVSI), held in Washington in the same 2009 year. The document said that the XFC UAS system is disposable, that is, after the drone completes its flight mission to the submarine, it will not return, and the crew will not take any measures to search and detect the device.


The Sea Robin container and the collapsible wing UAV itself were designed by the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in collaboration with SwampWorks, the Department of Defense Technology Response Directorate (DoD / RRTO) and the US Naval Research Management (ONR). It took a little more than 6 years to develop the concept of an unmanned aerial vehicle until the implementation of full-fledged tests in the fleet, which, by the standards of developing such programs, is a very short period.

It is worth noting that the project unmanned system XFC UAS is not the only one. Today, in the interests of the US Navy, the US military-industrial corporations are developing several vehicles at once, which can be based aboard submarines. At the end of 2009, Northrop Grumman and Boeing put forward a proposal to equip the Ohio and Virginia class submarines with ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicles, which are already in service on surface ships and in land units of the US Army.

The ScanEagle drone, as well as the XFC, is intended for reconnaissance, reconnaissance and observation of the terrain, but it is technologically much simpler than its fellow. This UAV is equipped with a piston propeller engine, which develops power in 0,97 kW, an infrared and / or optical video camera and various communication systems capable of operating at a distance of up to 100 km. At the same time, the device has a sufficiently long flight time - 20 hours. The length of the drone is 1,4 meters, wingspan - 3,1 meters, weight - 20 kg. At the same time, ScanEagle is able to reach speeds of up to 150 km / h.

ScanEagle drone

There is no doubt that the result of the completion of testing and deployment of XFC UAS vehicles (and, possibly, other UAVs) on board submarines will be that the potential for autonomy, secrecy and damage of the American submarine fleet will increase. This will help the "eyes and ears", which will operate in the air in the interests of the submarine.

The creators of the XFC UAS system are proud to say that they have provided significant savings to the American budget, as "traditional programs very often bring some kind of result only decades later." Welcoming the successful completion of the experiment, Warren Schulz, who heads this program, noted that a technology was created that fully meets the needs of the special forces community in the United States. Earlier, the specialized American media also wrote that American engineers are working to create a special “underwater ship base”, designed to launch not only aircraft, but also underwater unmanned systems.

At the same time, American programs for the use of drones in military operations have long been criticized by the entire world community and human rights defenders. In fairness, we note that we are talking about shock drones equipped with various types of offensive weapons, and not about reconnaissance vehicles.

Information sources
http://svpressa.ru/war21/article/78777
http://lenta.ru/news/2013/12/06/xfcuas
http://vz.ru/news/2013/12/6/663043.html
http://takie.org/news/bespilotnik_zapustili_iz_pod_vody/2013-12-06-7927
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  1. saag
    saag 12 December 2013 08: 34
    +2
    This concept, in my opinion, can be applied to the anti-aircraft defense of a submarine, a container with a needle pops up and is used as intended, though you will probably have to modify the guidance
    1. just exp
      just exp 12 December 2013 09: 43
      +1
      also considered this option. just not with a needle, but with something more powerful, but with an infrared seeker to drive hokai. and you can direct from the satellite so that the submarines are not fired.
      1. Gato
        Gato 12 December 2013 16: 06
        0
        Quote: just explo
        you can direct from the satellite so as not to shoot the submarine

        But the ascent, launch and in general the presence of such a system does not fire submarines?
        1. Sirocco
          Sirocco 12 December 2013 17: 27
          0
          Quote: Gato
          But the ascent, launch and in general the presence of such a system does not fire submarines?
          But the fact of the presence of this drone does not burn the submarine itself, which launched it?
          The XFC UAS UAV will be quite difficult to detect.
          But you can still. And since there is a probability of UAV detection, then there is a danger of detecting submarines. So fake and not a useful stray.
    2. Professor
      Professor 12 December 2013 23: 17
      +1
      Quote: saag
      This concept, in my opinion, can be applied to the anti-aircraft defense of a submarine, a container with a needle pops up and is used as intended, though you will probably have to modify the guidance

      Anti-aircraft defense is not new: France creates a submarine SAM system
      1. Lesnik
        Lesnik 12 December 2013 23: 24
        +1
        Quote: saag
        This concept, in my opinion, can be applied to the anti-aircraft defense of a submarine, a container with a needle pops up and is used as intended, though you will probably have to modify the guidance


        In a private conversation with an expert respected by me, I heard an opinion and I will allow myself to share with you - "For the last 20 years, the world military thought has been developing unaddressed developments of the USSR military-industrial complex" and I tend to agree with him
  2. makarov
    makarov 12 December 2013 09: 11
    0
    These are still prototypes, no matter how the American cheeks are puffed out, it is not yet known whether it will be in demand ..
    1. AVV
      AVV 12 December 2013 11: 20
      0
      The most important obstacle to the adoption of this system is that it is a one-time flight, it will take off, but landing is a problem, especially in conditions of ocean waves !!! It's a crazy idea to use it only during calm weather !!!
      1. just exp
        just exp 12 December 2013 14: 28
        +2
        can fly to the base on the shore.
        1. theadenter
          theadenter 12 December 2013 16: 40
          0
          And who will manage it to the shore? Do you think such a long-range radio control module on a drone, especially when controlling from under water? And is there enough drone flying range to fly to shore?

          It seems to me, as an option, the drone will be splashed. And then it will simply be taken away by support ships or by towing some boats.
  3. Beck
    Beck 12 December 2013 09: 29
    0
    For the sake of objectivity, the United States is embarrassed by its latest developments. For the sake of objectivity, they know how to do it.

    For the sake of objectivity, when will Kazakhstan’s closest ally, Russia, which has a base, scientific and design potential, adequately respond to an economic rival and a potential adversary? Or have the Taburetkins already lowered everything below the plinth?
    1. 222222
      222222 12 December 2013 11: 06
      +2
      Beck (4) US Today, 09:29 AM New
      "For objectivity's sake," .... America did not have Gorbachev and perestroika .. In terms of the scale of damage, this is more than the damage from the Nazi invasion ..
    2. vinni
      vinni 12 December 2013 11: 30
      +2
      For objectivity's sake, the super-duper US army, supported by no less super-duper NATO forces for 12 years in Afghanistan, unsuccessfully tried to "heroically" fight the Taliban with old AK-47s and ancient grandfather's guns, and now they do not know how to carry off opportunities without great losses ... So not everything in this world depends on the super-duper, incl. about people like this UAV
      1. Beck
        Beck 12 December 2013 15: 53
        0
        Quote: vinni
        For objectivity's sake, the super-duper US army, supported by no less super-duper NATO forces for 12 years in Afghanistan, unsuccessfully tried to "heroically" fight the Taliban with old AK-47s


        But do not gossip over what they themselves stumbled on.

        The United States probably waged active hostilities in Afghanistan in the first three years. Now, units are sitting at their bases and from time to time make sorties. There are no reports in the news feeds that in one region or another of Afghanistan there are stubborn battles between the Taliban and the American troops, so there are isolated ter.acts.

        And when the Soviet Army entered Afghanistan, the Mujahideen did not even have old AK-47s. There were antediluvian English rifles of Lee-Anfield of the late 19th, early 20th centuries, taken from the defeated British in the first and second Anglo-Afghan wars.
        1. fzr1000
          fzr1000 12 December 2013 17: 05
          0
          Well then, you need to continue, which is very fast for the moja .. spirits, dushmans (they were called so before) and modern weapons, and instructors, and supplies appeared.
          1. Beck
            Beck 12 December 2013 17: 56
            0
            Quote: fzr1000
            Well then, you need to continue, which is very fast for the moja .. spirits, dushmans (they were called so before) and modern weapons, and instructors, and supplies appeared.


            Helped them do not argue. And to us from what pantalik and what kind of binge we had to climb into drowsy Asia. What were your problems missing? They just gathered that the cargo is 200.
  4. twister
    twister 12 December 2013 11: 16
    0
    Does he accidentally take off from the cart?
  5. Nayhas
    Nayhas 12 December 2013 11: 44
    +2
    It is not entirely clear what tasks an UAV can perform? How will it be managed and received? Any retractable device and transceiver equipment unmasks the submarine by giving out its location, so it’s a useless thing, albeit an interesting one.
    1. sub307
      sub307 12 December 2013 15: 35
      0
      Exploration of the coast, for example, and you never know what.
    2. The comment was deleted.
  6. Serega Valentinovich
    Serega Valentinovich 12 December 2013 12: 45
    -1
    There is always a decent answer to any UAV; detection systems also do not stand still.
  7. La-5
    La-5 12 December 2013 14: 11
    +1
    Cruise missiles have long been launched from under water (a cruise missile is essentially the same drone), so the Yankees did not make a revolution here.
    1. Prapor-527
      Prapor-527 14 December 2013 11: 08
      +1
      Absolutely.
  8. Andriuha077
    Andriuha077 12 December 2013 15: 34
    0
    Our MLRS drone placed in the Caliber will take off perfectly from a submarine.
  9. Sax
    Sax 12 December 2013 15: 43
    +1
    Quote: AVV
    The most important obstacle to the adoption of this system is that it is a one-time flight, it will take off, but landing is a problem, especially in conditions of ocean waves !!! It's a crazy idea to use it only during calm weather !!!

    Imagine, there is not a single American warship on the surface. But 3-4 such devices in 6 hours at a speed of even 200 km / h "cover" a huge area of ​​the ocean surface, revealing everything that is possible. And how much will the information that this little thing transmit in combat conditions cost? After that, strike weapons will fly into the detection area, but with a minimum deviation, loitering, with the capabilities of atosearch and identification. Yes, let these things then self-destruct. The price will no longer be comparable to the result.
  10. sdv68
    sdv68 12 December 2013 16: 04
    +1
    A drone with a submarine, of course, is an interesting thing, but there is one question. How will he transmit information to the same submarine? Radio waves and water are generally not too friendly with each other.
    1. Gato
      Gato 12 December 2013 16: 16
      +2
      various communication systems capable of operating at a distance of up to 100 km.

      The power of UAV transmitting systems is greatly limited by its carrying capacity. It should be understood that the submarine must be at periscope depth in order to use its receiving antennas.
  11. I think so
    I think so 12 December 2013 19: 57
    -3
    And then the question arises ... why the heck to launch drones from a submarine? Achievement from the category of "Elusive Joe" ...
    1. Cpa
      Cpa 13 December 2013 02: 19
      +1
      So they wrote, for the forces of special operations.
      1. Prapor-527
        Prapor-527 14 December 2013 11: 11
        +2
        Time for special operations, then why the whole trindet all over the world?
  12. Fedya
    Fedya 12 December 2013 21: 26
    +1
    The idea of ​​these scouts is outlined in Adamov's science fiction novel "Secrets of Two Oceans".