Submarines will soon be able to launch drones just like torpedoes.

Attack submarines will become more effective thanks to the Razorback UUVs (unmanned underwater vehicles), which will protect the larger submarines and their missile payloads better.

The US Navy is finally adding underwater drones to its fleet of nuclear attack submarines. Submarines in the fleet will now be able to utilize torpedo tubes to launch and recover the new version of the Navy’s Razorback UUV. In addition, razorbacks with sonar systems of their own will allow naval submarines to seek out enemy ships and submarines without inadvertently revealing themselves.

The US Naval Institute News reported that the Navy wanted to add UUVs to its submarines but was stymied by technical issues. Deploying the Razorback drone from a torpedo tube has been challenging. Recovering it after a mission has been difficult, as divers and a dry dock shelter (DDS), a hump-shaped module that allows divers to enter and exit submarines underwater, have been the only options. The Razorback has been restricted in its ability to deploy due to the limited number of submarines carrying a DDS.

The Navy has reportedly figured out how to recover a Razorback submarine in the same manner it came out, through a torpedo tube. Rear Admiral Casey Moton, executive program officer for unmanned and small combatants, told USNI News that the process is functional and will soon be operational.

Sailors are seen carrying a Mark 48 torpedo from the pier to the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) in Souda Bay, Greece, July 2019. A Razorback drone would be transported in a similar way if it was onboard a submarine.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), a submarine, aircraft carrier, and amphibious warship manufacturer, builds the Razorback. It is a medium unmanned undersea vehicle (MUUV) based on the HII REMUS 600 UUV. The 600 in the REMUS’s name refers to the REMUS 600’s diving depth in meters or 1,968 feet. This unmanned, autonomous drone can operate independently for up to 24 hours.

Here is a REMUS prototype shot.