On 4 May, the final test of the reactive experiment (OER) “UAV on submarine” was held off Toulon. The aim of this project is to send a drone from a submarine submarine in order to retrieve the video data and drive it from the submarine.

Carried by several entities of the Ministry of the Armed Forces in connection with the industrial environment, this project aims to increase the vision of the submarine in its environment. The use of a drone will allow the submarine to extend the perimeter and horizon of its sensors and capabilities. (Inquisitions, surveillance, reconnaissance (visible or infrared ISR), radio relays, small parcel depots, etc.) It is also a question of bringing a new disruptive operational capability in the medium term which can be integrated into the current fleet.

During the tests, the drone system developed by Naval Group and the PME Diodon was sent from an SNA in immersion. It is raised to the surface in a waterproof protective cocoon made by Naval Group. On the surface, this cocoon opened, and the drone positioned itself above sea level. The SNA then released its communication antenna to establish the data link. Once the communication was established, the drone was flown from the submarine, offering a video feedback of the drone camera onto the pilot console.

This ERO contributes to the reflection on the operational concepts that are made possible with this type of drone. The next steps should make it possible to confirm these concepts internally as the Ministry of the Armed Forces, etc. This successful test is, in any case, encouraging to see operational capacity in the not-too-distant future.

This project is carried out by:

  • The Defense Innovation Agency for the overall management of the project;
  • DGA Naval Technical (navigational) and Terrestrial Techniques (microdrones expertise) centers;
  • The Navy via the submarine squad (ESNA) and the Naval Program Expertise Centre (CEPN);
  • The industrialist is Naval Group and its subcontractor, the SME DIODON.