The periscope of a submarine is great for taking a look at what’s happening on the water, but it’s a real health hazard as the submarine has to surface to be able to use it. Researchers at the John Hopkins University have come up with a novel alternative. They created a waterproof drone that can be released from the sub to fly above the water and provide an aerial view for the sub.

The drone has been called the CRACUNS (Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System) and it’s a waterproof drone that can be mounted to the body of a submarine and used to gather intelligence without putting the submarine, or indeed the crew, at risk.

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The CRACUNS has been built using custom made 3D-printed parts. The electronics of the drone are kept safe using waterproof housings or, in the case of the four motors, treated using a coating that comes cheap but does a good job keeping the H20 away. This approach keeps the drone at an affordable price, making it easier to regard it as a disposable tool that can, and should, be used for jobs too risky for the much larger submarine.

The submarine was tested by the Applied Physics Lab at John Hopkins University. They left the drone in salt water for up to two months and found it had no effect on the drone’s ability to fly. This means that the drones could also be dropped covertly by aircraft and left for a long time before being used to gather intelligence.

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