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Lockheed Martin has successfully launched the Vector Hawk, a small, unmanned aerial vehicle (), on command from the Marlin MK2 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) during a cross-domain command and control event hosted by the U.S. Navy.
In addition to Marlin and Vector Hawk, the Submaran, an unmanned surface vehicle developed by Ocean Aero, provided surface reconnaissance and surveillance.
“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,” said Kevin Schlosser, chief architect of unmanned systems technology at Lockheed Martin.
During the Annual Navy Technology Exercise, the Marlin launched the Vector Hawk using a specially-designed canister from the surface of the Narragansett Bay. Following the launch, Vector Hawk successfully assumed a mission flight track. All three autonomous vehicles—Marlin, Submaran and Vector Hawk—communicated operational status to the ground control station to maintain situational awareness and provide a means to command and control all assets.
Lockheed Martin’s Vector Hawk is designed for canister or hand-launch in all maritime environments to provide customers with versatile capabilities at the moment they need it. “This signifies the array of Lockheed Martin’s unmanned systems capabilities – to communicate, conduct a diverse set of missions and then of course reconfigure accordingly in the field,” said Schlosser.
The four-pound Vector Hawk can fly for 70-plus minutes, at line-of-sight ranges up to 15 kilometers. Operators can recover and re-launch the Vector Hawk in a matter of minutes (including changing the system’s battery). Vector Hawk is built on an open architecture to enable rapid technology insertion and payload integration.
Marlin MK2 is a battery powered, fully autonomous underwater vehicle that is 10 feet long with a 250 pound payload capacity, 18-24 hour endurance, depth rating of 1000 feet and weighs approximately 2,000 pounds. Its open architecture design and modularity allow new mission packages to be quickly integrated into Marlin to meet emerging customer needs.
“Lockheed Martin has heard loud and clear the U.S. Navy’s call to get faster, be more agile, and to be continually creative,” said Frank Drennan, director, mission and unmanned systems business development. “We have clearly illustrated that we have the necessary agility and quickness combined with innovative technology to increase the range, reach, and effectiveness of undersea forces.”