The US Navy is currently undergoing some interesting projects, including the development of a duck-like drone, the Flimmer (Flying Swimmer), which will have the ability to fly, as well as swim. The innovative drone will be able to reach areas of operation in a far faster manner by flying over the water surface.
The drone’s brand new version features specially-designed wings and a rear-facing propeller. It is also equipped with four fins (with two of them being mounted on the drone’s wings) that swiftly adapt to the robotic craft’s activity.
While flying, the four fins serve the purpose of stabilizing the drone and also act as canard wings; when swimming, they flap in order to boost the machine’s speed level.
Following the conducting of successful examinations of the Test Sub (which managed to combine a typical submarine-like shape with a traditional aircraft shape)’s performance, scientists have been able to use and apply their progress towards the building of a flying model of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)’s WANDA (which stands for Wrasse-inspired Agile Near-shore Deformable-fin Automaton) drone.
The NRL is currently attempting to upgrade the landing technique of the flying WANDA model in order for it to be able to dive into choppy seas for instance. Scientists are now working on methods of protecting the above-mentioned fin mechanisms.
The Navy also has quite a high stake of interest in the project due to the fact that, if it is to be successful, their reliance on stationary sonar buoys for detecting enemy subs is bound to decrease as they would be able to appoint drones to scout the necessary areas.
The Navy has conducted a large number of tests regarding the Flimmer’s latest version which is an aerodynamic fish-like machine that goes by the name of The Flying Wanda. The name actually derives from the Navy’s fish-mimicking Wrasse-inspired Agile Near-shore Deformable-fin Automaton. During its testing stages, WANDA was able to demonstrate speed levels of up to 57 mph while in flying mode, and only 11 mph while having to perform in water.