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XFC UAS (eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System) from NRL: Quiet, Stealthy and Submarine-Launched!

XFC UAS (eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System) from NRL: Quiet, Stealthy and Submarine-Launched!

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pf button both XFC UAS (eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System) from NRL: Quiet, Stealthy and Submarine Launched!

By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com

The following article is property of DefenseReview.com (DR) and is copyrighted material. If you are reading this article on another website other than DefenseReview.com, please email us the website address/URL (where the unauthorized DR article reprint is located) at defrev (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you.

Photo Credit: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)

December 8, 2013

XFC UAS eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System Naval Research Laboratory NRL 1 XFC UAS (eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System) from NRL: Quiet, Stealthy and Submarine Launched!Speaking of submarines, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) recently demonstrated their ability to launch a fully-autonomous, all-electric, fuel cell-powered surveillance UAS/UAV (Unmanned Aerial System/Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)/drone aircraft called the XFC UAS (eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System) from a submerged submarine, specfically a Los Angeles-class attack sub called the USS Providence ((SSN 719). Sporting a folding-wing design, the XFC UAS is launched from Sea Robin launch vehicle, which, in turn, is launched from a Tomahawk cruise missile launch cannister inside a torpedo tube.

The XFC UAS was designed and developed by the Chemistry and Tactical Electronic Warfare Divisions at NRL for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) in order to significantly increase a submarine's situational awareness and battlespace intelligence. It's capable of operating for 6+ hours at low altitude and low cost. The drone's launch footprint, being all-electric, is minimal.

XFC UAS eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System Naval Research Laboratory NRL 2 XFC UAS (eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System) from NRL: Quiet, Stealthy and Submarine Launched!Battery-powered, all-electric UAS/UAV's like the XFC UAS are "inherently stealthy" because of their relative noiseless operation and low thermal signature. They're also very easy to operate and maintain. The downside of small, all-electric drones like the XFC UAS is that they are small, low power and low speed, which translates to a poor payload capacity and limited endurance compared their internal-combustion-powered counterparts.

Still, the XFC UAS can carry an EO/IR (Electro-Optica InfraRed) payload for a long enough period to be combat-effective. Loiter speed is 30 knots, dash speed is 52 knots.

Now, if they can just integrate a remote-detonated/impact-detonated explosive charge into it, a la the MBDA TiGER (Tactical Grenade Extended Range) SUAS/SUAV Kamikaze drone.

If you want to see it in person, you can check it out at booth 256 at the 2009 Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) meeting in Washington, DC from August 10 – 13.

Organization Contact Info:

NRL Public Affairs Office (PAO)
Phone: 202-767-2541
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.nrl.navy.mil

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XFC UAS (eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System) from NRL: Quiet, Stealthy and Submarine-Launched! by
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About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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