In addition to land-based launches of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), water-based launches are becoming more common, raising a need to build a water-based system to deploy UAS. Existing water-based launches of UAS have failed to successfully resolve the issue of the instability of water-based conditions. In addition to stability problems, the appropriate angle of a UAS launch must be achieved despite the constant turbulence changes of the ocean. If this angle is not met, the launch will be a failure.
The invention is a deployment system for a water-based launch of a UAS. It is comprised of a pneumatic launch tube surrounded by a support structure. The structure includes an inflatable bladder to suspend the tube at a specified depth of water, with a telescopic weight below the tube to insure proper orientation. The launch angle is adjustable in relation to the support structure, which allows for a degree of freedom in aiming a variety of UAS. This feature also allows for differences in wind speed and direction, as well as the current state of the sea. To power a launch, the system may use a compressed air tank, a track guided actuator, or a spring loaded device. Additional components may include a pressure fit cap to protect the system from outside elements, a telescoping vehicle guide rod, a communication antenna for relaying data to and from the vehicle, and a battery to supply power to the control circuitry. Combining these features allows for a stable structure and successful launch that reduces loss of equipment.
- Enables launch of UAS from sea surface and undersea
- Compatible with multiple launch mechanisms such as compressed air or track guided actuator
- Autonomous or manual launch
- US patent 8,091,461 available for license
- Potential for collaboration with Navy researchers