back to article Rise of the swimming machines: US sub launches and recovers a drone

The US Navy has successfully launched and returned an underwater drone during an undersea mission in the Mediterranean. Virginia-class attack submarine the USS North Dakota (SSN-784), was deployed to the Mediterranean for two months. She returned to base on Monday after a successful test of her drone-launching capability, …

  1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

    Aren't submarine drones

    called torpedoes?

    1. Alister

      Re: Aren't submarine drones

      You tend not to want to get a torpedo back once you've launched it...

  2. AIBailey

    Rinse of the machines?

  3. Kubla Cant


    Excuse my ignorance. How do they communicate with the drone, and over what range is it possible?

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Re: Question

      Encrypted sonar. Fibre optic ("wire guided"). Free-water laser. Possibilities are endless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Question

        Encrypted sonar. Fibre optic ("wire guided"). Free-water laser. Possibilities are endless.

        For small values of endless.

    2. Paul Kinsler

      Re: Question

      I don't know either, but of the three options come to mind (optical, acoustic, wire) only by wire seems very stealthy and/or immune to interference. And I'd guess that optical would have the worst range limitations,and acoustic would be very good at giving away your (and its) location.

      Wait, I forgot one: trained carrier piscines? :-)

    3. rh587

      Re: Question

      Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.

      Upload a mission profile and let it run. There's no operator such as you would get with the Reaper aerial drones.

      Autonomous Aerial Vehicles do also exist, but only unarmed platforms running surveillance/intelligence/target drone duties, etc since any sort of weapon-release calls for human authorisation.

      They're also used in civvie street for aerial surveys, scientific remote sensing, etc - send it off on a survey path and it comes back a few hours later with all your data. No need to sit at a terminal driving it all that time. Obviously locations where you can do this are limited. Oceanography is one such application - not much air traffic at 1000ft in the middle of the Atlantic.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question

      If the sub uses an antenna buoy with an electronically steered beam to communicate with a satellite as a go-between for the drone, the drone could briefly surface or raise an antenna above the surface to relay its findings back to the sub and receive new instructions.

  4. Raumkraut

    We're gonna need a bigger drone

    So they finally invented WSKRS?

  5. Ken 16 Silver badge

    I thought Da's Boot

    was a sequel to My Left Foot.

  6. Bob Dole (tm)
    Black Helicopters

    Send in the Drones

    Isn't it rich? Are we a pair?

    Me here at last on the ground, you in mid-air

    Where are the Drones?

    Isn't it bliss? Don't you approve?

    One who keeps tearing around, one who can't move

    Where are the drones? There ought to be drones

    Just when I'd stopped opening doors

    Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours

    Making my entrance again with my usual flair

    Sure of my lines, no one is there

    Don't you love farce? My fault, I fear

    I thought that you'd want what I want, sorry, my dear

    But where are the drones, send in the drones

    Don't bother, they're here

    Isn't it rich? Isn't it queer?

    Losing my timing this late in my career

    But where are the drones? There ought to be drones

    Well, maybe they're here.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another tool in the arsenal

    Dealing with rogue nations is not easy but these new drones for air and water are quite useful. Think of all the dead terrorists that are no longer able to kill innocent people. It's a good start but a long journey.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    To think they cancelled Baa Baa Black Sheep for real combat footage

    And here we are learning that submarines now have new drone capabilities. This is on par with the hydrodynamic thrusters of Search for Red October. In the 1980s, this would be classified Ultra Top Secret and any journalist even trying to publish the information would be black-bagged and never seen again.

    Ah, the irony of having to justify a budget.

  9. Oldfogey

    So do they really have them?

    Is there any evidence? Has anybody seen an underwater drone?

    Perhaps they just want to worry the opposition?

    You can't believe it without Playmobile evidence!

  10. channel extended

    Justified budget item?

    Obviously, the navy will use them to hunt terrorist in the desert.


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