What you need to know about Boeing’s new patent
No, it’s not a new commercial aircraft design; Boeing’s new patent is actually a flying drone that turns into a submarine when it comes in contact with a water body. It happened earlier this year when Boeing received an approval from the US Patent and Trademark Office for their patent application. Boeing calls it a “rapid deployment air and water vehicle”.
So how does it work?
Even though it can fly, it can’t actually take off from the ground like a normal aircraft. So here is how it actually works. First of all, it takes off with the help of a larger carrier aircraft. When the carrier aircraft is airborne, the drone can be detached when necessary. This is generally supposed to happen near the target diving area. The drone is controlled remotely and can then fly with the help of its wings and propellers. When required, the drone can dive into the water.
Now here is the interesting part. The wings and propellers of the drone help optimize its aerodynamic properties so it can fly as efficiently as possible. However, these parts are not suitable for optimal hydrodynamic performance. As such, upon entry into the water, the drone gets rid of its wings and propellers with the help of explosive bolts and water-soluble glue in an aim to attain optimal hydrodynamic properties.
Propellers and control surfaces for motion within the water will appear in the place of the detached wings and propellers. These will help propel and stabilize the drone within the water. Boeing claims that air and water propulsion will be handled with the help of a single engine, although further details about the engine have not yet been specified.
More Useful Information
While it is important to emphasize that the flying submarine is still an idea, there are a couple of interesting points to note regarding the patent.
The flying submarine will control its depth in water with the use of a buoyancy tank.
It could perhaps be used to deliver a payload of supplies or weapons or could even be used for undersea reconnaissance missions. Once this is completed, or when needed, the drone can resurface and communicate any information it has collected with a command center, or perhaps even other drones.
Here is how Boeing described the rapid deployment air and water vehicle:
A vehicle adaptable for both flight and water travel comprising: a body configured to fly through air and to move through water; a wing or a stabilizer attached to the body while in flight; a first set of propelling blades attached to the body while in flight, the first set of propelling blades configured to propel the body through air while the body is in flight; a second set of propelling blades, coaxial with the first set of propelling blades, the second set of propelling blades attached to the body when the body is in flight and when the body is in the water, the second set of propelling blades configured to propel the body through water while the body is in the water; and at least one attachment member attaching the first set of propelling blades to the body while the body is in flight, wherein the at least one attachment member detaches the first set of propelling blades from the body when the body is in the water.
On a final note, credit goes to PatentYogi for uncovering the patent. Check out their cool video below.