Thursday, August 1, 2013

Navy enlists UAVs to uncover atmospheric ducts, protect comms

DNP  Navy enlists UAVs to battle atmospheric ducts that wreak havoc on radar and radio

Turbulence. A minor bother for us, but a huge issue for enlisted seamen. So-called "ducts" in the lower atmosphere can wreak all sorts of maritime havoc; trapping radar and causing radio comms to travel further than expected and into the hands of the enemy. The Office of Naval Research's Ocean Battlespace Sensing Department (rad name, right?) isn't satisfied with using balloons to keep track of the ducts anymore, and is deploying drones instead, including Insitu's ScanEagle shown above. The result should be a greater understanding of how atmospheric conditions affect radar and communications, which could ultimately provide a tactical advantage -- at least while we wait on those 100-kilowatt lasers.

[Image credit: Wikimedia Commons]

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