By Technology EditorLast updated: April 27th, 2022
Maritime Drones & Naval UAV
Maritime drones and naval UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) have been specially designed to operate at sea and over the ocean. They are engineered to withstand extremes of weather, including heavy rain and winds, and must be resistant to salt spray in addition to regular moisture ingress.
Unmanned helicopters are a popular Maritime UAS (MUAS) platform, as their VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) operation allows them to be easily deployed from a small footprint on the deck of a ship. Fixed-wing maritime UAV can also be launched via catapult launcher, or a runway on larger vessels, and can also launch from land.
Anavia’s HT-100 Long-range maritime drone
Maritime drones may be equipped with a variety of payloads, including EO/IR (electro-optical/infrared) gimbals that allow them to provide surveillance and search for objects on the surface of the water. ViDAR (Visual, or Video, Detection and Ranging) technologies are a form of optical radar that extend the imaging and search capabilities of maritime UAS by allowing them to scan a wide area of ocean with a larger field of view.
Maritime UAS can be used for a wide variety of both civilian and military applications. Offshore use is becoming more common, as drones are ideal for performing offshore inspection of wind farms and oil rigs, as well as delivering supplies to remote offshore platforms.
Used by first responders in search and rescue operations to locate people and shipwrecks in large areas of open water, maritime UAV are also used for many law enforcement and security applications, such as:
Steadicopter’s Black Eagle Electric VTOL UAV for naval, maritime and coastal missions
Naval UAV provide tactical situational awareness and ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) to navy vessels and fleets. They may be able to network with other naval assets such as USV (unmanned surface vessels) and AUV (autonomous underwater vehicles) to provide a multi-domain capability that can share information.