The Navy's newest development is what they call a "Duck Drone" or a flying submarine.
One of the best ways to get a submarine from place to place? According to the Navy, it might just be by flying it there. The United State Naval Research Laboratory announced yesterday that they are working on "Flimmer" (Flyer and Swimmer), a submarine that can fly. The drone operates at or above the levels of existing drones both in the air and underwater, according to the Naval Research Lab's magazine Spectra.
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Though the machine was based around a duck's dimensions and versatility, the drone's design harkens back to some of the planes used in World War II. To build the Flimmer, the researchers took a traditional submarine and combine it with NRL's WANDA (Wrasse-inspired Agile Near-shore Deformable-fin Automaton), the name of the current Flimmer being tested. The current model can reach 50 knots (58 mph) flying and 10 knots (12 mph) when submerged.
One of the problems that the NRL still has to work on fixing is the "splash zone" when the plane lands in the water from flight - it is not stealth at the current time. They are considering the addition of submergible wings that will soften the landing, but likely up the overall weight of the craft.
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"Experimentation with the Flying WANDA configuration continues," Dan Edwards wrote in the Spectra article. "Future flights will explore the performance envelope using the fins as active control surfaces in the air and will continue the landing work." Edwards is leading the Flimmer design and testing.