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U-Boat Aircraft Carriers

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posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 09:58 AM
Has anyone seen or heard of the japanese U-Boat I-401?. It was the largest U-Boat in WW2 and it was capable of carrying aircraft. I also seen a picture of the Australian navy U-Boat with an A-4 Skyhawk on the deck. I thought this idea should be brought back becouse Aircraft Carriers are roumoured to be 'Bomb Magnets'.

If the government built these they would also be used as Marine assault vessels and Attack aircraft carriers.
They would carry smaller jet fighters such as:

Convair XF-2 Sea Dart(If it was accepted)
Vought F-7U Cutlass (Modernised)
A-4 Skyhawk
A-7 Corsair
F-35 JSF
Future Aircraft

The aircraft listed here would be suitable for this type of vessel becouse of thier nifty (small) sizes and versatility so the U-Boat would Accept STOL,VTOL and Rotary Winged aircraft .Anyway if it will exist again it would be nuclear powered about the size of just under 700 feet long.

I come up with this idea becouse i have an interest in Naval Aviation and Black Project aircraft so i thought about what would happen if they brought back this idea again.

Anyway what do you guys out there think of this?

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 10:15 AM
Submersible carrier would most likely be limited to a good weather use only because the "fight deck" would be close to surface... and since manning even deck guns of old boats in bad weather was imbossible.
and making openings large enough for Aircraft into a pressure hull would be risky and severly limit maximum diving depths (large sealants are difficoult to make fully waterproof)

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 10:32 AM
your " sub carrier " would also be a ` bomb magnet ` while surfaced , read up on the course of the battle of the atlantic

while underwater it would be un manouverable , noisy - and a torpedo magnet for any SSN out there

damage control would be a nighmare , the USN sub USS Bergall had to majke a VERY hairy run for home on the surface after a jap destroyer shell punctured the pressure hull without exploding

there is a very good reason why no one has implimented your " good idea ", namely it is totally unfeasible

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 10:34 AM
I think the term "Sea Plane Tender" would be more appropriate. The Sub would surface and move the planes from the hanger tot he water and then they would take off. The tought of a submarine large enough to support major aircraft operations would be a bit much.

As refered to above "A bomb Magnent"

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 10:59 AM
Any pics/schematics of these vessels?..

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 11:04 AM

Originally posted by Daedalus3
Any pics/schematics of these vessels?..

Here are some from WWII

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 11:12 AM
I wonder if any modern subs can carry aircraft? I was thinking something like a AH6 littlebird or another chopper might be able to without too much retrofitting but maybe not?

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 11:50 AM
you already have submarines carrying aircraft..they are called tomahawk cruise missles. 12 missles carried in verticle launch tubes in the foreward ballast tanks. Some submarines carry these missles as part of their torpedo compliment and launch them from the torpedo tubes rather than vertical launch tubes.
These are definitely aircraft..they are just unmanned.
Furthermore these unmanned aircraft are also launched from cruisers and battleships..though the battleships are now retired. They are aircraft none the less.

One more thing gentlemen...since WW2 and this concept of which you speak air to air refueling has changed much of how aircraft operate in a Global scenerio. It has made much of this type of submarine obselete in the manned arena.
Anytime a submarine has to come to the surface it is very vulnurable. Same with coming close to the surface to periscope depth. This is the time submarines are most vulnurable. Surfacing and diving until they get to operational depth.
I was told a story while in the control room of a boomer to illustrate this point I am making about vulnurablility. The Chief on the watch told me that once on patrol they came to periscope depth to surface and while doing a sweep of the attack periscope..the command was given to dive ..immediately..crash dive. When they leveled out at depth...the officer announced that all he had time to see before shouting " Dive Dive immediately" was the TEX of Texaco on the side of a oil tanker. Now that is close!!! To close for comfort.!!!


posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 12:48 PM
It's worth bearing in mind that the 'submarine' of WW1 & 2 was really just a submersible craft.
Almost all of them couldn't stay down very long and they were incredibly slow under water.

True submarines came later after WW2.

Therefore the concept of the I400 Japanese carrier sub was kind of understandable (homing torpedos weren't really about at that stage and the depths they expected to operate at weren't so great).
But basically it carried 3 very light bombers (the Aichi M6A1 Seiran); advanced seaplanes they may have been but compared to the opposition they would have faced I doubt they would have stood much of a chance.

It seems to me that was a hell of a lot of effort and risk for very little potential result (even if everything did work out and go your way).

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 12:56 PM
While the Aichi M6A1 Seiran might not have stood much of a chance in a fair fight I don’t think that they intended to use it in a head on fight against fighters. I think the Japanese intended to sneak into places like the Panama canal and bomb the locks to prevent US warships from using it, or say the west coast of the US where they could bomb strategic targets and strike fear into the American citizens being attacked on their own soil.

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 01:08 PM
Some pictures of the I-401

there was also an ATS thread on this,

posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 04:21 PM

Originally posted by warpboost
I wonder if any modern subs can carry aircraft? I was thinking something like a AH6 littlebird or another chopper might be able to without too much retrofitting but maybe not?

There are already some designs on the drawing board to have Subs equiped with UCAVs in the future that could be launched and retrieved by submarines.

posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 01:23 PM
I have a problem with this scenerio of recovering UCAV's except under training scenerios.
UCAV's would be used where the danger of manned flight is high. If so the danger to a submarine is also high. Submarines are at the greatest danger when coming to the surface or even at periscope depth. To do so twice to recover a UCAV doesnt make good sense.
Information today is real time..and viewed and recorded while it is being taken by the unmanned or even manned machines. I mean either visual or video information or digital data or telemetry meaning non visual or non video.
The UCAV is the expendable or disposable commodity here ..not the submarine..this should be obvious. Secure portions of the UCAV technology could be protected by self destruct devices to be activated after the target of the mission is overflown.
The self destruct method is the preferable means especially in areas where we do not have air superiority.
Unmanned vehicles of all types are not a new invention..what has so greatly improved and is in many instances top secret is the control methods. Today I am sure much of this is digital control methods including encription. Hence the top secret classification. This is what is necessary to protect. Not the UCAV per se.
Also control of the UCAV is most likely not by the launching submarine. The Submarine is only the launch platform. Control of these UCAV's can be done from a orbiting aircraft hundreds of miles away or from sattelite link to a station around the globe somewhere. I have no doubt that today combat missions involving UCAV's can be controlled in foreign countrys by controllers here in the USA via various data links.
I think some of you get the point about this now. I dont think it is wise to jeopardize the hugely expensive submarine launch platform twice recover a UCAV on high threat missions. They should be made self destructive or to land at another location.


posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 05:29 PM
I should have mentioned that the plans were having the UCAVs launched and recovered without the sub ever having to surface. They would launch much in a way like modern sub missiles while the sub is underwater and retrieved with the use of a robotic arm after they landed in the water.

posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 11:26 PM
Curious here as to what you know about underwater robotic arms??? Also how you would recover such a UCAV and then stow it in or on the submarine. I am thinking it would involve divers!!?? It would have to be somewhat easy to dissassemble and design. You couldnt risk trained divers unecessarily.
I do see your point. I'm just curious how this would be done.


posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 11:33 PM
Does anyone know the range on some of thesse things. LIke the preditor or the Global Hawk..or others.
I think the range on the tomahawk missles is somewhere between 800 to 1100miles. Its pretty far..for this type of weapon.
Some of the new designs I've seen at the air shows are flying wings like the B2 bombers just scaled down and one engine. Should have pretty good range since the flying wing is very efficient fuel wise.
Not sure about the preditor. The Global Hawk has a pretty long range...operational altitude too. Quite impressive. I am sure it varys some with the payload carried but not sure on some of the others so if anyone knows please post this.


posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 11:46 PM
A global Hawk would be too big for a sub application, but may be just right for a carrier

A Predator B has an endurance of about 29 hours
GlobalHawk has about 42 hours
Gnat 750 about 48

Of the 3 the Gnat seems more suitable for a sub launch but thats a long shot at best.

posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 11:52 PM
Its all technology comming out of what Navy calls the Submarine Future Studies Group.

I saw a computer animation of how it would work awhile back. The UAV launched like a missile while the sub was underwater and flew its mission. Then when it was done it flew back to the sub and landed in the water where the sub was waiting. A robot arm came out of the submarine retrieved the UAV and put it back in the subamarine. I think it was a submarine designed for just this purpose.

Searching the web you can find more information on it.

Northrop Grumman Encapsulation Technology Enables New Submarine Capability
Developed by Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, the so-called Stealthy Affordable Capsule System, or SACS, is a modular encapsulation system that enables "non-marinized" UAVs and weapons to be launched from a submerged submarine. Without such technology, weapons and vehicles must be specifically designed to withstand underwater conditions.

A submarine could deploy UAVs in several different ways, depending on the size of the UAV itself. Some are small enough to be launched out of a submarine's three-inch signal ejector; larger ones could be deployed from the submarine's 21-inch torpedo tubes, Young said he_sea.htm

. The OI facilitates more flexible payload interfaces with the water and imposes far fewer constraints on the shape or size of weapons, auxiliary vehicles, and sensors to be deployed from the submarine. The OI supports the launch and recovery of tethered and autonomous vehicles without incurring many of the difficulties of current designs using torpedo tubes. The external volume under the shroud could also contain the necessary support systems for such vehicles. This approach would allow the host submarine to control the vehicle from within the ship without consuming valuable internal space for large cable reels or other support equipment. The OI will also allow the ship to deploy and retrieve a new generation of weapons, countermeasures, and sensors, which can now be developed without the size limitations imposed by torpedo or vertical launch tubes r.html

Theres also alot of working being done with ( UUV ) Unmanned Underwater Vehicles that would also be launched and retrieved by submarines

posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 12:00 AM
Aerostat Aircraft Carriers are the future.

posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 12:22 AM
Just got off work myself..wasnt expecting you guys to reply so quickly.
Thanks for the rapid replys.
Yes Fred T ..understand about the Global Hawk being to large for submarine applications. I just knew it had pretty good range. By the way ..Im curious when they will develope one of these things to be air to air refueling capable?? Its got to be coming one day.

Sardion I'm afraid I dont know what aerostat aircraft carriers are ..I will have to research it.

Thanks ShadowXIX for the postings especially the Jimmy Carter and the Nortnhrop Grumman ones on their electronics and launch capability.
I knew that the olde generation of Ohio Class boomers is being modified to carry cruise missles. It is just a further step to using them to launch UAVs. I see where they would be able to launch more of them than a attack boat in those encapsulation devices mentioned. The way these missles are launched in a gas bubble they dont get wet anyway..even when the tube hatch is open. Its not a far jump to developing UAVs to launch from such a tube and not get it wet.
Intresting about the Jimmy Carter...and what they have posted. I didnt know all that stuff was out there in that format. Ive seen the Jimmy Carter in drydock but wont discuss much about it for obvious reasons. Suffice it to say that the technology is moving along nicely. Thanks ShadowXIX.


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