The U.S. Navy is working on a submarine-fighting drone that can operate both in the air and underwater.
The Flimmer (Flying Swimmer) is the brainchild of the Naval Research Laboratory. The drone, it says, can reach operational areas more quickly by flying over the surface of the water.
After successfully examining the performance of a “Test Sub” that combined a traditional submarine shape with a traditional aircraft shape, scientists applied their findings to a flying version of the NRL’s WANDA (Wrasse-inspired Agile Near-shore Deformable-fin Automaton ) drone.
According to the NRL’s Spectra magazine, “Flying WANDA” has four fins and a wing, with the two aft fins mounted on the tips of the wing. Test flights confirmed Flying WANDA’s stability and control, and scientists have started testing the most effective “landing mode,” or splashdown, to protect the fin mechanisms.
“Experimentation with the Flying WANDA configuration continues,” wrote Dan Edwards of the NRL’s Electronic Warfare Division, who is leading the Flimmer project. “Future flights will explore the performance envelope using the fins as active control surfaces in the air and will continue the landing work.”