Cormorant Submarine/Sea Launched MPUAV

DARPA's Cormorant Submarine/Sea-Launched and Recovered Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (MPUAV) is a unique concept vehicle intended to extend the capabilities of both submarines and surface ships.


(Cormorant Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)

The MPUAV concept involves the immersible vehicles housed and serviced in the launch tubes of cruise missile submarines. Released from the tubes, the MPUAVs would float at the surface until sent aloft by two Tomohawk solid rocket boosters. The turbofan engine MPUAVs would return to a designated recovery point, splash down and power down to wait for retrieval. Submarines would launch a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to snag the MPUAV and haul it back into a launch tube, where it could be docked and retracted.

At present, the program is testing out critical technical aspects of the concept. Key experiments include submerged docking tests of a vehicle mock-up, testing of splashdown testing of structural loads and testing of the turbofan engine.

Fans of the UFO television series produced in Britain in 1969/1970 may recall the Skydiver, a sea-launched flying machine. I've never seen this series; read this UFO series description for more information; it sounds like it would be worth investigating.


(Skydiver at sea)

Fans of the sixties series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea will of course recall the flying sub, which launched from a small bay on the underside of the submarine Seaview. It would power to the surface, and take off after building up a bit of speed. Take a look at the Subjugator, a remote-controlled vehicle built by students for the 2004 International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition; it was modeled on the flying sub.

Read more at Cormorant Submarine/Sea-Launched & Recovered Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (MPUAV) program page at DARPA; thanks to Winchell Chung for contributing the tip and pix for this article.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/29/2005)

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