Vector Hawk UAS launched from AUV
Lockheed Martin’s Vector Hawk UAS has been launched by an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) during a US Navy exercise, the company announced on 28 September.
During the Annual Navy Technology Exercise, Vector Hawk was launched by the Marlin MK2 AUV in a mission supported by the Submaran unmanned surface vehicle (USV).
The Submaran USV relayed instructions to Marlin from a ground control station via underwater acoustic communications. Marlin then launched the Vector Hawk using a specially-designed canister. Vector Hawk successfully assumed a mission flight track, and all three autonomous vehicles communicated operational status to the ground control station to maintain situational awareness and provide a means to command and control all assets.
Vector Hawk is designed for canister or hand-launch in all-weather, maritime environments to provide an organic, tailored intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability. The 4lb UAS is capable of fully autonomous flight and landing, and can fly for 70-plus minutes, at line-of-sight ranges up to 15km.
Kevin Schlosser, chief architect, unmanned systems technology, Lockheed Martin, said: ‘This effort marks a milestone in showing that an unmanned aircraft, surface vessel and undersea vehicle can communicate and complete a mission cooperatively and completely autonomously.
‘This signifies the versatility of Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems to communicate seamlessly across domains to conduct a diverse set of missions in all environments. The capability is quickly reconfigured in the field. In a short time, we enabled these systems to work together by rapidly changing sensor packages.’
Marlin MK2 is a battery powered 10ft long USV with a 250lb payload capacity. It has 18-24 hour endurance, depth rating of 1000ft and weighs approximately 2,000lbs.
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