Soon Drones Will Be Able to Fly and Swim

Soon Drones Will Be Able to Fly and Swim image
September 3, 2015 | Source: Mark Pomerleau, Defense Systems

The Navy is putting a lot of stock into unmanned systems, from unmanned aerial vehicles to unmanned undersea vehicles. But what about unmanned aerial undersea vehicles?

They’re working on those, too. The Navy Research Laboratory has begun research on Flimmer, an unmanned system that can operate in the air and underwater. According to NRL, this combined capability is to “significantly improve tactical availability of UUVs in time critical situations”—that is, if it need to get to a spot underwater fast, it can be flown there, launched and then plunge into the deep. 

“The Navy’s looking for unique solutions for emplacing sensors for getting data in hard-to-reach locations and Flimmer is just one idea out of many that holds promise,” Dr. Daniel Edwards, principal investigator for the Flimmer project, said in a video produced by NRL. “Birds splash down and swim for fish, so there’s precedent in nature. We’re just trying to adapt it for UAV/UUV uses.”