Groton based submarine launches undersea drone in a 1st for US Navy

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USS North Dakota (U.S. Navy Photo)

GROTON — A Navy submarine has become the first to launch and recover an underwater drone used in a military operation.

The attack submarine USS North Dakota returned to its base in Groton on Monday following a nearly two-month deployment.

The vessel’s commanding officer, Capt. Douglas Gordon, said the Mediterranean Sea mission proved submarine-launched drones are a viable option for the Navy. He declined to provide details of the mission.

The underwater drone was launched from a shelter attached to the top of the submarine that can also be used to deploy divers and special forces.

The military has used undersea drones for years to detect mines and map the ocean floor. It has been researching how to use them more for other purposes including intelligence gathering.