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Navy Shoots Unmanned Vehicle from Submarine; Craig Hughes Comments

naval drone stock photoA six-year U.S. Navy project to build an experimental unmanned aerial system for launch from a submerged submarine culminated in a recent fleet demonstration of the plane.

The Naval Research Laboratory’s fuel cell-powered XFC UAS shot out from the Los Angeles class USS Providence using a redesigned Sea Robin launch vehicle and Tomahawk launch canister, NRL said Thursday.

“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 Dr. Warren Schultz, program developer and manager at NRL.

Craig Hughes, acting director of innovation at ONR, called the project a “disruptive technology.”

“Quickly getting them into the hands of our sailors is what our SwampWorks program is all about,” Hughes said.

XFC was then remotely-controlled to vertically fly out of Sea Robin and streamed live video back to the command post before landing several hours later at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center in the Bahamas.

NRL developed the all-electrical XFC under the SwampWorks program, which is part of the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Department‘s Rapid Reaction Technology Office.

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