The Flimmer (Flying Swimmer) program at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is merging two research areas to provide a novel airborne delivery method for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). Underwater vehicles are limited in top speed by the drag produced in water. However, air is approximately 1000 times less dense than water, so the power required to overcome drag is substantially reduced in air. By flying over the surface of the water rather than swimming long distances through it, delivery of a UUV to an operational area can be accomplished much more quickly, and delivery is possible to areas not directly accessible through continuous water pathways. The Flimmer program seeks to investigate the potential of rapidly flying a submarine over the ocean’s surface into position, transitioning from flight to underwater, and then enabling a swimming mode once underwater. ...
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