Navy readies Switchblade UAV for submarine missions

The Navy plans to launch AreoVironment's small, expendable Switchblade unmanned aerial vehicle from a submerged submarine during a naval exercise next year in the Pacific Ocean, reports Graham Warwick at Aviation Week's Ares blog.
 
The service awarded a sole-source contract to Raytheon to provide five sets of submerged launch vehicles (SLV) for the UAVs in support of the RIMPAC 2012 exercise. The SLV with the folding-wing Switchblade inside is ejected from the submerged submarine's trash disposal unit and carried to the surface, where it is launched.
 
Raytheon received the sole-source award because of its continuing work for the Navy's Submarine Over the Horizon Organic Capabilities program the company has been working on since 2007.
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