I am looking for any info or pictures about two projects: submarine launched Douglas A4D [model 640] modified by Edward H. Heinemann and Boeing Flying
Carpet with modified F-11F.
Here is article:
Meanwhile, in the US, the development of nuclear propulsion sparked some interest in aircraft-carrying submarines, prompting the Office of Naval
Research to issue a solicitation for proposals. In response, Edward H. Heinemann, an aircraft designer who preferred to be called an innovator,
developed a series of design sketches for a fighter aircraft that could be carried aboard the nuclear-powered submarine Halibut that had been
specifically designed to carry and launch guided ballistic missiles. Halibut was commissioned in January 1960 and could carry four Regulus II missiles
in a massive bow hangar.
Heinemann’s sketches indicated how a new-design aircraft or his versatile Douglas A4D Skyhawk could fit into the submarine’s hangar with minimum
modification. The basic Halibut hangar was 80 feet long. The new-design aircraft was the Douglas model 640, a turbojet attack aircraft with a flying
boat hull. It would be catapulted from the surfaced submarine, would come down at sea, and would be recovered aboard the submarine by a telescoping
crane. Depending upon modifications to the hangar, the aircraft’s wings, tail fin, or nose section would fold for shipboard stowage.
The Navy did not pursue Heinemann’s proposals, but there were several other proposals for nuclear-propelled, aircraft-carrying submarines. The
Navy’s aircraft development office—the Bureau of Aeronautics—sponsored the most ambitious one, called Project Flying Carpet.
Boeing Aircraft Co. undertook the extensive feasibility study of aircraft-carrying submarines for the project. The secret study employed, initially,
hangar configuration and hull lines based on the Halibut design and the S5W propulsion plant used for the Thresher-type submarine.
The Boeing study proposed a near-term submarine carrier configuration—designated AN-1—that would carry eight high-performance aircraft in two
large hangars, built into the forward hull. The nuclear-propelled submarine would be some 500 feet long and displace 9,260 tons on the
surface—larger than any US submarine then planned, including the 380-foot-plus Polaris ballistic missile submarines.
The starting point for AN-1 aircraft would be a modified Grumman F11F Tiger turbojet fighter. The aircraft’s standard folding wings (for carrier
use) would be supplemented by a folding tail fin, and it would employ a large rocket booster for launch from a “zero length” catapult. The
catapult would be elevated to the vertical (90 degrees) to launch aircraft. The pilot would climb into the aircraft while it was still in the hangar,
then an automated system would move the aircraft onto the catapult.
The aeronautics bureau conducted a feasibility study to investigate the submarine weight, stability, and equilibrium using an F11F conventional
aircraft stowed in the Regulus missile hangar of USS Grayback. Grayback could carry two Regulus II missiles, one in each of two hangars faired into
her forward superstructure.
The plan was, eventually, to replace the Mach 1+ F11F fighter with a Mach 3 aircraft. The aircraft would land aboard the submarine through the use of
an innovative hook-and-cable arresting system. An aircraft that had to set down at sea could be brought back aboard the submarine by crane.
Initially, designers expected each aircraft-carrying sub to be able to haul aircraft fuel, weapons, and other stores for 10 missions per aircraft—a
total of 80 missions per submarine. That estimate grew during the preliminary design process to at least 160 missions, with only minor changes in the
Designers developed a subsequent AN-2 variant aircraft-carrying submarine with similar hull lines to the AN-1, but the AN-2 would operate vertical
takeoff and landing aircraft. The sub would carry these VTOL aircraft in eight vertical hangars built into the hull forward of the sail structure. The
below-deck configuration of the AN-2’s forward hull would differ considerably from the AN-1, while the after section of the submarine—containing
crew quarters, control spaces, propulsion, and reactor plant—would be similar.
The Boeing study noted that “flight deck operations in the conventional meaning of the word do not exist.” It estimated a ground crew could launch
four VTOL aircraft within 5.5 minutes of surfacing and eight aircraft in just over nine minutes. If the aircraft engine start used self-contained
starters rather than shipboard power, those times could be cut. The study further concluded that, under even the most adverse sea conditions, the time
to launch all eight aircraft would be 18 minutes. To compensate for the adverse conditions, the ground crew would move the aircraft, via deck tracks,
to the amidship launchers closest to the ship’s center of buoyancy. The Boeing study calculated that the AN-1 submarine would cost about half again
as much as a Polaris missile submarine.
However, the Navy did not pursue the aircraft-carrying submarine. Defense analysts have offered a number of reasons: a questionable operational
requirement for submarine-based aircraft; bureaucratic opposition to a ship concept developed by the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics, not the Navy’s
Bureau of Ships; and a shortage of submarine construction capability since the Navy was accelerating the construction of both torpedo-attack
submarines and Polaris missile submarines.