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US Navy will release Blackwing drones from underwater

5/25/2016, Milan Šurkala
US Navy's submarines will have a new equipment in the near future. The new Blackwing spy drones will be used in these submarines and they can be released from underwater. They are collapsed into very small 3-inch launch tube.
US Navy plans to modernize its fleet and equipment. One of the new additions will be a fleet of Blackwing drones that were developed by AeroVironment company in the program "Advanced Weapons Enhanced by Submarine UAS against Mobile targets (AWESUM)". The drones can fly but they are able to be launched from underwater. Therefore, they can be carried by submarines and other underwater vehicles. The drones are stored in 3-inch (7.5 cm) diameter launch tube and will extend when they reach the surface. The wingspan is approximately 20 inches (50 cm) and the weight is about 4 pounds (less than 2 kilograms).
Submarine releasing Blackwing drone
Blackwing drones are equipped with electro-optical and infrared sensors. We can find anti-spoofing GPS and encrypted communication capabilities here. The drones can be used in surveillance but it is possible to use weapons for self-defense purposes.  They have enough energy for a 60-minute flight. US Navy is going to buy 150 Blackwing drones in the fiscal year 2017 but it is uncertain when they will be deployed.