Chinese drone capable of flying, diving and swimming underwater

A group of Chinese scientists from NanjingUniversity of Aeronautics and Astronautics published an article in Unmanned Systems Technology on the development of an unmanned vehicle that can alternately move under water and through the air. Such a vessel can be used in a wide range of civil and military operations from rescue at sea and inspection of underwater objects to counter submarine missile carriers.

The idea is to combine functions in one unit of technologysubmarine and aircraft is not new. One of the first more or less substantiated projects of a submarine aircraft was proposed in 1934 by Boris Ushakov, a student at the Leningrad Higher Marine Engineering Institute. The commission recognized the project as unpromising due to the immobility of the hybrid vessel on the surface and underwater. But another project - the American Donald Reid - reached the stage of the first flights in 1964, although things did not go beyond the prototypes.

Modern materials, batteries and electronicsallow solving many technological difficulties that developers of multi-medium devices have previously encountered. It can be assumed that such projects are being carried out in many countries, an indirect confirmation of which was a demonstration in China. There, scientists successfully tested a prototype hybrid drone with a wingspan of about two meters, hoping to eventually create a much larger unmanned submarine aircraft.

Scientists recognize the moment as the main difficultytransition from the underwater state to the surface, followed by takeoff. Even a slight disturbance on the water can interfere with this process. The British, for example, solve this problem with the help of acetylene accelerators, but the Chinese went the other way. The aerodynamics of a hybrid vessel is focused on sliding on the surface of the water before creating lift. Airplane-type wings fold in before diving and extend after resurfacing. The drone is driven in the air by four quadrocopter-type propellers, the front pair of which can change the angle of inclination for maneuvers and for horizontal movement.

The speed of the prototype hybrid drone inair reaches 120 km / h. It is alleged that in order to 100% overcome the air defense systems of enemy aircraft carriers, the hybrid drone must move at a speed of 150 km/h. When detected by radar, the hybrid drone can quickly dive underwater, and when detected by sonar, it can take to the air, remaining immune to attack in all environments.