First quadcopter drone that can be launched from a submarine underwater
SpearUAV has released its Ninox 103 UW Sub-to-Air encapsulated autonomous quadcopter, which it claims is the first loitering drone that can be launched from a submarine and other submerged platforms for immediate beyond-line-of-sight situational awareness.
With their ability to submerge, submarines have a major strategic and tactical advantage. However, from their inception they've also suffered since from the disadvantage of not being able to see what's going on above the waves beyond the horizon of a periscope.
For this reason, for over a century, submariners have experimented with a number of ways to extend their view. With varying degrees of success, kites, gyrocopters, and even airplanes have been launched from submarines, but all of these had the drawback of the boat needing to surface for them to be deployed.
In recent years, navies have looked to drones that can be launched underwater to act as a reconnaissance platform. However, these have tended to be fixed-wing aircraft, while the Ninox 103 is based on a quadcopter design that allows it to loiter in place by hovering.
According to SpearUAV, the Ninox 103 is stored in a capsule that can be deployed from a submarine. This capsule floats to the surface and can remain dormant for up to 24 hours before the ruggedized, maritime-hardened drone launches.
Once airborne, the Ninox 103 has a range of 10 km (6 miles) and an endurance of 45 minutes. With a payload of 1 kg (2.2 lb), the drone has low acoustic, thermal, and visual signatures, and features Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) sensors for reconnaissance and automatic target acquisition using its open-architecture artificial intelligence system. Communications with the submarine, other platforms, or special forces teams ashore use encrypted communications, 3rd-party data integration, and cross-domain connectivity.
"The first technological development of its kind in the world, the Ninox 103 Sub-to-Air has been developed in response to the needs of Spear’s customers worldwide for a drone capable of underwater launch," says Colonel (Retired) Gadi Kuperman, Founder & CEO of SpearUAV. "The system has been successfully tested, and Spear is collaborating with a number of defense companies as it continues to work on new developments."
The video below introduces the underwater-launched Ninox 103 UW Sub-to-Air.