It is gradually becoming the rule that combat systems, such as armored personnel carriers, tanks, airplanes and ships, carry smaller drones, which can launch smaller drones if necessary to perform a variety of tasks. So far, however, we have not seen quadcopters that could be launched from a submarine operating submerged.
The first such system recently introduced SpearUAV. It is a Ninox 103 UW Sub-to-Air drone, which is a specially modified autonomous quadcopter that works as a tactical drone fired from a submarine or similar underwater platform. Such a drone can offer a submarine something that it can otherwise obtain only imperfectly and with considerable risk – an overview of the situation above the surface in a wide area.
The submarines operate underwater, which gives them a significant strategic and tactical advantage. Their problem is that when they are interested in situations above the surface without emerging, they have to use a periscope. This is risky and at the same time the periscope does not give them a very good view.
For this reason, engineers have been experimenting with various technologies for providing surface survey and communication for submarines for more than a century, with varying degrees of success. Kites, gyros or even airplanes have already been launched from submarines. In all cases, however, the submarine had to emerge.
Ninox 103 is introduced
Recently, these efforts have focused on drones released from submarines underwater. So far, however, they have always been fixed-wing aircraft. The Ninox 103 is the first quadcopter to do this. According to SpearUAV, this quadcopter is housed in a capsule that can be discharged from the submarine into the water. The capsule floats to the surface, where it can wait up to 24 hours before releasing the quadcopter into the air.
When the Ninox 103 gets into the air, it has a range of about 10 kilometers and a stamina of 45 minutes. It can carry a load of 1 kg. At the same time, it leaves a very low acoustic, thermal and visual footprint.
It has a system of EO / IR (electro-optical and infrared) sensors for reconnaissance and automatic target detection, with the support of artificial intelligence. It can also transmit encrypted communication with other submarines and units.