China is testing a drone that can fly, swim and avoid air defenses by diving underwater
At the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (China), a group of scientists has created and tested a drone that can swim underwater and fly in the air. The results of the study were published in the journal Unmanned Systems Technology, according to scmp.com.
The submarine drone has wings spanning 2 m. The original drone is supposed to be larger, but the prototype has been made quite small so far.
The hardest part was getting the device to seamlessly transition into each of the three modes – underwater, surface and air. The publication notes that British engineers working on a similar drone used acetylene boosters. However, their Chinese counterparts solved the problem differently. They made the wings of the UAV foldable: when the device lands on the water, the wings retract, and after that it dives, and when it rises from the water, it spreads its wings again, picks up speed and takes off, like birds do.
The drone was equipped with 4 propellers, like conventional quadcopters. It is noteworthy that 2 front propellers are able to change the angle of inclination, this ensures the maneuverability of the drone. It is also known that the prototype can accelerate in the air up to 120 km/h. The media writes that in order to get away from the air defense systems of aircraft carriers, the drone needs to gain speed of 150 km/h. It is likely that the model will be finalized and it will be capable of it. Scientists emphasize that the drone can evade pursuit in the air by diving under water, and thus it will be invulnerable. However, this requires that there is some kind of body of water nearby.
The name of the device, its characteristics and even appearance have not yet been disclosed.