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Submarine Force Tests UAV Technology to Enhance Force Protection
Story Number: NNS050331-02
Release Date: 3/31/2005 2:00:00 PM


By Journalist 2nd Class Christina M. Shaw, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- The submarine force conducted a demonstration here in February using a new type of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to test its utility for force protection.

During the demonstration, a prototype UAV was launched and controlled by force protection personnel ashore to search out the waters ahead of the submarine as it entered port.

The small plane weighing in at approximately five pounds is able to break down into five pieces and can be stored in a small suitcase, making it portable and easy to take anywhere it’s needed.

“The beauty of UAVs as other military users have found is they are economical, portable and reliable,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tom Armstrong, Commander, U.S. Naval Submarine Force anti-terrorism force protection officer.

The UAV can be used in a number of different ways, but its primary purpose for the submarine force would be for reconnaissance and photographic surveillance to support force protection. The new UAV design is ideal for stealth, due to its ultra-quiet electric motor and small size.

Another plus comes in the versatility of the vehicle. According to Armstrong, it can be flown in all kinds of weather and can be launched in a very unique way.

“It can be flown via Global Positioning System (GPS). We just program what route we want it to fly and it doesn’t matter if it’s night or day, in bad weather or good," he said. "We could launch the UAV from the submarine at sea or launch it from shore depending upon the available range.”

Acquisition of this UAV for submarine force protection is still under consideration, but Armstrong is optimistic this technology will be a part of the fleet in the future.

“This affordable surveillance tool offers great potential benefits and savings to the submarine force, and I hope we’ll be able to take advantage of this great technology soon.”