The U.S. Navy has demonstrated the communication, control and command functions of a small AeroVironment-built unmanned aircraft vehicle at the service branch’s Annual Naval Technology Exercise.
AeroVironment said Wednesday its Blackwing UAV worked to connect with a swarm of unmanned undersea vehicles and communicated with a manned submarine’s combat control system during the ANTX event.
The drone used a government-owned digital data link to transfer real-time information from the surrogate manned submarine to multiple UUVs, the company noted.
Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s unmanned aircraft systems segment, said the company plans to work closely with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and partner Sparton to expand Blackwing’s features.
Blackwing is designed to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data to submarine commanders as well as support C2 data and communication transmission among geographically separated vessels during mine-hunting and wide-area oceanographic sensing missions.
AeroVironment based the submarine-launched UAV from the company’s Switchblade lethal miniature aerial missile system equipped with DDL in an effort to help the Navy conduct operations in anti-access/area-denial environments.