A design for an autonomous compact rotorcraft deployable from a submarine and intended to be used to transport special forces personnel won the first prize in the undergraduate category of the 24th annual student design competition hosted by the American Helicopter Society and sponsored by Sikorsky.

The winning concept, designated "Waterspout", is the brainchild of a team of students from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and Pennsylvania State University.


Competition requirements called for design of a UAV that will deploy from the submarine while at a periscope depth of 15 meters, rise to sea level, be able to float and take off in moderate conditions and then fly 260km. The system would be able to both deploy and retrieve personnel and return them to the submerged submarine.

The innovative design, comprising a pressurised waterproof airframe with extending rotors, allows the vehicle to exit through the submarine’s existing missile-silo hatch, doing away with requirements to modify the boats exterior.

The approach also allowed for the UAV to be larger than alternative approaches involving encapsulation of the air vehicle for its in water mission phases.

Source: FlightGlobal.com