Lockheed joins Boeing and General Dynamics in betting on ocean drones

Lockheed Martin’s interest in a San Diego start-up shows how big aerospace companies are pushing the drone revolution out to sea.

Lockheed Martin Ventures last month invested an undisclosed amount in San Diego-based Ocean Aero — a 25-employee start-up that is developing the Submaran, a solar- and wind-powered ocean drone capable of operating above and below the surface.

“The ability to be environmentally powered allows us to maneuver at great persistence because it’s renewable,” said Eric Patten, chief executive of Ocean Aero and a former Navy officer. “And then to be able to transition that vehicle from the surface to a sub-surface vehicle that has significant capability under water, that is truly unique.”

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