The U.S. Navy has announced it will deploy the AeroVironment Switchblade drone from a submerged submarine during naval exercises next year.Launched at periscope depth from the subs trash chute, the drone is folded into a canister shaped like a large projectile round, and once in the water it floats to the surface and parks at a 35 degree angle. Once it hits the waves, the canister opens, delivers a small charge to the electric drone, which launches itself from the canister.
Graham Warwick at Aviation Week reports the contract to get the drone from the sub to the air went to Raytheon, which built the submerged launch vehicle (SLV) specifically to fit U.S. submarines refuse ports (via fbo.gov).
The move is part of a Submarine-Over-The-Horizon Organic Capability (SOTHOC) program that will allow submarine crews to deploy surveillance from their shallowly submerged vessels.
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