SOTHOC Submarine-Launched UAV

Raytheon's SOTHOC - or Submarine Over the Horizon Organic Capabilities is a submarine-launched unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Raytheon will test the system from a submerged U.S. Navy submarine sometime during early 2009.


(Sub-launched SOTHOC - or Submarine Over the Horizon Organic Capabilities)

As shown in the SOTHOC diagram in the above picture, the basic idea is to eject an SLV (submarine launch vehicle) containing the electrically-powered UAV from the submerged submarine's trash disposal unit.

The SLV is weighted to descend a safe distance away from the sub; once the predetermined depth is reached, it automatically jettisons the weight. A float collar is inflated; it pulses to control the rate of ascent to the surface. A water drogue provides stabilization and an attached vane aligns the device with the wind. The tube then pivots to a thirty-five degree angle and launches the UAV.

The design was tested last September at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center's shallow water test range at Narragansett Bay, R.I.; two SLVs were deployed at the surface.

"The vehicles descended to 80 feet reverted to positive buoyancy, floated to the surface, stabilized in variable sea states, aligned into the wind, and then launched an inert representative UAS at precise orientation and velocity," according to Raytheon.

The intent of the SOTHOC Submarine Over the Horizon Organic Capabilities UAV is to provide real-time situational awareness to submarines at significantly increased ranges. It is expected that SOTHOC will be able to operate in cooperation with other UAVs in the area.

Fans of the UFO television series produced in Britain in 1969/1970 may recall the Skydiver, a sea-launched flying machine.


(Skydiver at sea)

SOTHOC will be given another test in November; this involves a mature small UAV for the demonstration. control software into the submarine's BYG-1 combat system.

From Aviation Week.

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