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Blackwing Sub-Launched UAV Demos Cross-Domain Comms

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United States Navy Demonstrates Cross-Domain Communications, Command and Control Via Aerovironment Blackwing Submarine-Launched UAV

(Source: AeroViroment; issued Sept 7, 2016)


NEWPORT, R.I. --- AeroVironment, Inc. (AVAV) today announced the United States Navy has successfully demonstrated the use of its submarine-launched Blackwing UAV to link with a swarm of unmanned undersea vehicles and communicate with the submarine combat control system during the Annual Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) on August 16.

Along with providing a new and unique intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability to submarine commanders, the Blackwing UAV can also provide high-speed data and communication relay for Command and Control (C2) between geographically separated vessels such as manned submarines, unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) and surface ships.

Deployed UUVs collect large quantities of data while conducting diverse missions ranging from mine-hunting to wide-area oceanographic sensing. During the ANTX exercise, an AeroVironment developed, government-owned, secure digital datalink called DDL, integrated into all Blackwing UAVs, relayed real-time information from the surrogate manned submarine via the Blackwing UAV to and from multiple UUVs.

Blackwing builds on AeroVironment’s extensive development and operational experience with its Switchblade Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) and its common DDL to provide the Navy with a deployable submarine launched unmanned aircraft vehicle optimized for distributed Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) environments.

“Our Naval Undersea Warfare Center partners seek solutions for quickly and seamlessly linking the air and undersea domains to enhance warfighter capability. We successfully demonstrated the innovative utility of AeroVironment’s new Blackwing unmanned air vehicle,” said Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “Blackwing delivers significant value to the undersea community, and we look forward to working closely with our partners to expand this powerful new capability to enable underwater vehicles and cross-domain interoperability. In addition to our Navy partners, we also thank our industry partner Sparton for their continued support on Blackwing efforts.”


AeroVironment (AVAV) provides customers with more actionable intelligence so they can proceed with certainty. Based in California, AeroVironment is a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems, tactical missile systems and electric vehicle charging and test systems, and serves militaries, government agencies, businesses and consumers.

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