AeroVironment to develop unmanned aircraft with encrypted data link to operate from submerged submarines

March 29, 2021
The UAV would be required to remain airborne without refueling for at least one hour, and operate at ranges out to the line-of-sight radio horizon.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – AeroVironment Inc. in Simi Valley, Calif., has been selected by the Department of Defense (DOD) to produce as many as 120 Blackwing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can be deployed from U.S. Navy submarines. The National Interest reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

29 March 2021 -- In effect, that Navy soon could have what amounts to a drone-style mothership or an underwater aircraft carrier. AeroVironment will produce the Blackwing 10C UAV with electro-optical sensors, in support of the Navy Submarine-Launched Unmanned Aerial System (SLUAS) Program.

The UAV would be required to remain airborne for at least one hour, operate at ranges out to the line-of-sight radio horizon, and use a variable bandwidth encrypted data link with at least 256-bit encryption strength.

Navy experts also have explored ways that drones could help to resupply submarines at sea. They tested such a platform earlier this the year, in which a large quadcopter-type drone could deliver small payloads to a surfaced submarine.

Related: U.S. Navy orders 15 ScanEagle unmanned aircraft, sensor payloads, and video data links for Afghanistan

Related: Tactical Common Data Link to be installed on two Shadow small UAVs under terms of Army contract to AAI

Related: Navy orders small UAVs with persistent surveillance sensor payloads from Boeing Insitu in $47.9 million deal

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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