The best thing about a submarine is it can move around from coast to coast silently. This silent predator can become a potential threat to any enemy country if carrying a lot of nuclear firepower. However, we have seen (at least in movies) launching underwater missiles from submarines to destroy enemy ship. But lately, US Navy has launched a drone called XFC from a submarine.
The XFC is a fully autonomous, all electric fuel cell powered folding wing UAS with an endurance of greater than six hours. The non-hybridized power plant supports the propulsion system and payload for a flight endurance that enables relatively low cost, low altitude, ISR missions. The XFC UAS uses an electrically assisted take off system which lifts the plane vertically out of its container and therefore, enables a very small footprint launch such as from a pickup truck or small surface vessel.
However, the advantage of a drone is it can be launched from anywhere. On the other side, being a silent vehicle, submarine is widely used in a war to attack. And harmonizing these two advantages, the US Navy has “managed to launch a UAS from a submerged submarine.” XFC was fired from the torpedo tube of Sea Robin (name of the submarine) and flew in the air around an hour.
XFC launching project from a submarine was funded by SwampWorks at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Department of Defense Rapid Reaction Technology Office (DoD/RRTO). This project was under development for more than 6 years.
It is being expected that the US nave will use this type of drone for surveillance, gathering intelligence and, naturally, delivering small packages to ship in the middle of a sea.
Source: US Navy