NEWPORT, R.I., 20 Sept. 2016. U.S. Navy personnel have demonstrated the use of a submarine-launched Blackwing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV), a global provider of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for military and commercial applications, to link with a swarm of unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) and communicate with the submarine combat control system during the Annual Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport Division.
During the ANTX exercise, an AeroVironment-developed, government-owned, secure digital datalink (DDL), integrated into all Blackwing UAVs, relayed real-time information from the surrogate manned submarine via the Blackwing UAV to and from multiple UUVs.
U.S. Navy demonstrates AeroVironment's submarine-launched Blackwing™ small UAV that links manned submarines to unmanned undersea vehicles. (Photo: Business Wire)
Along with providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability to submarine commanders, the Blackwing UAV can provide high-speed data and communication relay for command and control (C2) between geographically separated vessels such as manned submarines, UUVs, and surface ships. Deployed UUVs collect large quantities of data while conducting diverse missions, ranging from mine-hunting to wide-area oceanographic sensing.
Blackwing builds on AeroVironment’s development and operational experience with its Switchblade Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) and its common DDL to provide the Navy with a deployable submarine-launched unmanned aircraft vehicle optimized for distributed Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) environments, company representatives say.
“Our Naval Undersea Warfare Center partners seek solutions for quickly and seamlessly linking the air and undersea domains to enhance warfighter capability. We successfully demonstrated the innovative utility of AeroVironment’s new Blackwing unmanned air vehicle,” says Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “Blackwing delivers significant value to the undersea community, and we look forward to working closely with our partners to expand this powerful new capability to enable underwater vehicles and cross-domain interoperability. In addition to our Navy partners, we also thank our industry partner Sparton for their continued support on Blackwing efforts.”
AeroVironment’s family of small unmanned aircraft systems includes RQ-11B Raven, RQ-12 Wasp, RQ-20A, and B Puma and Shrike VTOL. Operating with a common ground control system (GCS), this family of systems provides increased capability to the warfighter that can give ground commanders the option of selecting the appropriate aircraft based on the type of mission to be performed.
AeroVironment has delivered tens of thousands of new and replacement small unmanned air vehicles to customers within the United States and to more than 30 international governments.
Based in California, AeroVironment (NASDAQ:AVAV) is a global provider of unmanned aircraft systems, tactical missile systems, and electric vehicle charging and test systems, and serves militaries, government agencies, businesses, and consumers.
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