Navy Sea Robin Launch Canister System
The Sea Robin will deploy the XFC UAV from a submerged submarine…
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) will award a contract to Oceaneering for the development of a submerged launch system that would deploy a UAV launch canister from the torpedo tube of a nuclear submarine.
The Launch Canister System (LCS), also known as Sea Robin, would shoot to the surface tethered by fiber optic cables. Once afloat, the Sea Robin would deploy the eXperiemental Fuel Cell (XFC) – a stealthy foldable, fuel-powered UAV with low acoustic and thermal signatures.
eXperimental Fuel Cell UAV
A full-scale mockup Sea Robin system has already been designed, built and tested. The NRL noted that Oceaneering is the only company to have deployed a torpedo tube-launched remotely operated vehicle with fiber-optic tether capable of withstandinga full impulse launch from a torpedo tube.
The XFC UAV has already shown that its hydrogen fuel-cells can powered the craft for over 6 hours of flight time. NRL’s Chemistry and Tactical Electronic Warfare Divisions say that in its final form, the XFC will be capable of self-launching from a folded configuration with loiter speed of 30 knots and a dash speed of 52 knots.
With no other contractors able to meet the NRL’s specifications, the one-of-a-kind Sea Robin launch system and the stealth XFC UAV could be the Navy’s answer to surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) from the depths of the ocean waters.
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