The U.S. Navy is looking to deploy a small, tube-launched unmanned aircraft system that deploys from under the surface of the sea, on manned submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles.
The system is named Blackwing™ and is being developed by the American technology company AeroVironment.
AeroVironment developed the Blackwing system as part of a 2013 Navy and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) sponsored Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) called Advanced Weapons Enhanced by Submarine UAS against Mobile targets (AWESUM).
Blackwing employs a miniature electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) payload, Selective Availability Anti-spoofing Module (SASSM) GPS and AeroVironment’s secure Digital Data Link (DDL).
Apart from from being capable of launching from manned and unmanned submarines, Blackwing can also be integrated with and deployed from a wide variety of surface vessels and mobile ground vehicles.
“AeroVironment’s new Blackwing unmanned aircraft system is a valuable new capability that resulted from our team’s close collaboration with, and responsiveness to, the U.S. Navy’s undersea warfare community and the Special Operations community,” said Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment.