US Navy to Deploy Submarine-Launched Drones

Meet the tube-launched Blackwings.

5. 23. 16 by Jelor Gallego
Image by AeroVironment

The US Navy is deploying a new weapon in drone warfare: Submarine-launched drones. Dubbed “Blackwings,” these small reconnaissance drones can be tube-launched from submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles.

Developed by California-based AeroVironment Inc., the drones are about 20 inches long and weigh about four pounds. They fold up into a three-inch wide canister that can be tube-launched from the submarine. Once the canister clears the surface, the Blackwing pops out and its wings unfold.

Each unit has a motor that can last up to 60 minutes, and is fitted with  miniaturized electro-optical and infrared sensors, as well as its anti-spoofing GPS and a secure digital data link.

The Blackwing was developed to counter Chinese advancements in anti-ship ballistic missile and similar “anti-access, area denial (A2AD)” technologies. The Navy has given no deployment date, but given China’s aggressive posturing, it may come just in the nick of time.


Care about supporting clean energy adoption? Find out how much money (and planet!) you could save by switching to solar power at By signing up through this link, may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy


Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.