The US Navy has spent the past week trying out a range of methods it could use to deliver goods to a deployed submarine, without it having to come into port.
While the method that used an unmanned aerial vehicle for delivery of what are likely smaller and lightweight items caught the most attention, the service has also tested other methods with more payload capacity.
These included an MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter delivering payloads to ballistic missile submarine USS Henry M Jackson (SSBN 730). Additionally, a C-17 Globemaster III from the Air Force’s 535th Airlift Squadron dropped a payload in the vicinity of the submarine.
All of the tests took place off the Hawaiian Islands between October 19 and October 23. USS Henry M. Jackson, which completed its 100th deterrent patrol in August this year, is homeported at the naval submarine base Bangor in Kitsap County, Washington.
The series of evaluations follows a similar experiment from exactly a year ago, when Commander, Submarine Force, US Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) worked with the University of Hawaii, tested the delivery of supplies onto a submarine off the coast of Oahu with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Back then, the UAV took a five-pound payload consisting of circuit cards, medical supplies, and food to the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) while it was underway. The test led to the creation of the submarine force’s first UAV squadron.
While last week’s trials surely provided the navy with a lot of insight, they also provided for great photo opportunities with a lot of good shots.