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Boeing Patents Drone that Can Turn into a Submarine

Boeing has recently been awarded a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for its new type of unmanned aerial drone which has the capabilities of converting into a small submarine. This drone, if ever built, will be adaptable for both water and flight travel as it has been designed to rapidly deploy in water or air. The water and air vehicle would be powered by a propeller, wing, and stabilizer. Launching this vehicle would require a large carrier aircraft in order to reach the deployment area. The remotely piloted aerial drone would then detach from the carrier aircraft, at which point it would operate on its own with the option of diving into the water.

Upon entering the water, Boeing’s drone would then detach certain components, whether using saltwater-soluble glue or explosive bolts, in order to optimize its hydrodynamic properties. The final transformation from a drone into a maneuverable underwater vehicle would then require a second set of components such as water-borne propellers and control surfaces. A single engine would manage both air and water propulsion.

This drone was also designed to perform undersea reconnaissance. While operating underwater missions, the drone would have the capability to utilize onboard ballast tanks in order to control its depth, and will also be capable of deploying its range of weapons. Once the underwater mission is completed, the drone would then surface and communicate the data that it has collected to either a command center or to other drones.

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December 11, 2015

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