UAS

Underwater drone launches mini-drones

An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has successfully launched multiple micro-AUVs (M-UAV) during a Navy demonstration.

A General Dynamics Bluefin-21 launched several Bluefin SandShark M-UAVs at the Navy-sponsored 2016 Annual Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) in Newport, Rhode Island.

"The Bluefin SandShark M-AUVs surfaced and functioned independent of the heavyweight-class Bluefin-21," a General Dynamics announcement said. "In one mission scenario, the Bluefin-21 simulated data collection and transfer of target imagery and other information to two Bluefin SandSharks. Those Bluefin SandSharks then surfaced to communicate with a Blackwing unmanned aerial vehicle. The Blackwing relayed the information back to a submarine combat control system ashore for decision-making authority and subsequent command of Bluefin SandShark M-AUVs."

"Our successful ANTX demonstrations showed that unmanned vehicles can deliver capabilities across the undersea and air operating domains," said Tracy Howard, a senior manager for AUVs at General Dynamics Mission Systems. "This system of systems approach leverages Bluefin-21's larger payload delivery, longer endurance and superior navigation capabilities to deliver smaller payloads such as autonomous underwater vehicles or unmanned aerial vehicles and sensors, providing the Navy with additional mission capabilities."

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