An S-100 UAV Approaches Motor Vessel Phoenix (Image courtesy MOAS)
We've written about the use unmanned air vehicles by maritime conservation organizations. We've also highlighted the use of drones by European navies to support naval forces in interdicting the stream of refugees moving across the Mediterranean from North Africa. In a predictable evolution of this trend, the non-profit Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) group has flown its first unmanned aircraft maritime patrols 30 nautical miles Southeast of Lampedusa, Italy from the motor vessel Phoenix. The two S-100 UAVs embarked on Phoenix and operated by Schiebel technicians will be able to locate and assess migrants in distress. According to MOAS co-founder Chris Catrambone, the drones will act as a "force multiplier" during their 21 day mission to assist navies in rescuing vessels along the most traversed migrant route.
by F. Patrick Filbert, Subject Matter Analyst-UAS, frederic.filbert.ctr(at)pacom.mil As technology improves, so does the capacity to expand a defensive perimeter to ever increasing ranges both horizontally and vertically. Identifying ways to penetrate this perimeter with assets and capabilities that do not require ever more expensive solutions requires creative use of current and emerging technological advances. Potential adversaries understand the United States (U.S.) is extremely technologically advanced with its warfighting systems. This requires a thinking enemy to develop ways to keep America’s advanced systems outside their sphere of influence; specifically, to both deny and create an inability to gain access to specific areas of operation. In the current vernacular, this is called creating an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environment which has, as its backbone, advanced integrated air defense systems (IADS).
A Bit of History
Being able to provide a “layered” offensive capabil…
What are some of the ways the U.S. and other countries could defend maritime assets against swarms of Sea-Air drones? Consider a convoy system with human centered technology, algorithms from nature, and elements of gaming. Oakland University’s Loon Copter works equally well above and below the water’s surface. Photo: Oakland UniversityThe FAA estimated that one million drones would be sold during this 2015 holiday season. This estimate was based primarily on the proliferation of flying drones, however new domains of operation may open up soon. Premiering in 2015, the Loon Copterproves that, in time, these devices will be capable of traditional aerial flight, on-water surface operations, and sub-aquatic diving. Embedded Systems Research at Oakland University created the Loon Copter in 2014. In 2016, the design placed third in the UAE Drones for Good competition. The system works in air as well as in water because the four rotors balance and cut through air and water equa…
Classifying unmanned maritime systems by their operating domain: air, surface, or underwater - is both convenient and intuitive. But recently, navy and industry researchers have begun to explore the advantages of platforms that can operate in two domains, muddying the nomenclature. In the past year, several prototype multi-domain unmanned vehicles have been introduced.
The most popular combination of these hybrid drones is the air/sub-surface mixture - UAVs that float or swim. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland introduced the Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System (CRACUNS), a submersible UAV designed to operate in the littorals which can be launched from a fixed position underwater or from an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV).
Rutger University's entry into the fray of flying/swimming drones is the Naviator, which can actually maneuver (sort of) underwater before surfacing and taking off.