posted on Feb, 25 2006 @ 11:04 AM
As for the concept...I like it but I would think it would be tough to build it, it would have to be very durable...since it lands back in the ocean
with no chute.
That's largely what bothers me.
It's one thing to claim that the vehicle has to be light -and- strong. It's another to compare it with the X-45 which weighs half again as much and
say that volume constraints are driving the vehicle config towards a flying-foam beastie with a titanium skeleton.
Mass is mass and even weightless that's an awful lot of bulk to be precision maneuvering around a sealed hull.
I also don't get the notion of putting a jet engine into salt water. no 'inflateable seal' is going to keep a 100-120 knot landing from pushing
massive amounts of water down the inlet and that /will/ destroy most engines, even if the snow-plow effect doesn't shove the nose down and submarine
As I recall, Cormorants are famous for 'tucking up' and doing a straight down nose dive to achieve exactly this kind of surface zone penetration as
they hunt fish but they have perhaps a 1,000th the mass, a quarter the flight speed and thus orders of magnitude less impact energy. At the very
least, I would want an inlet centerspike to form an extended seal footprint.
That said, about the easiest way I can see to make the system work is to in fact do a flyup maneuver somewhere between a stalled round out (again, I
can only think 'Pogo') and a Flanker's cobra. Then rocket-deploy a parachute as your airspeed passes zero on the way down and hope you sustain
ejection-seat levels of water impact at no more than 20-30fps.
Of course we all know how well timed pyro microswitches do when faced with a sustained salt water environment. But there are also suspension line
concerns (tear away panels and LO) to consider.
And even should the rocket extractor work every time, you're still asking to seal the (turbine aft) engine off in seconds using airbag technology
while splatting down on a hot exhaust without cracking it's liner Locking your aero controls so they knife-edge in without breaking off. And
controlling your splashdown geometry on what is clearly going to be a weight biased airframe configuration.
Which does nothing really encouraging to maintain directional control in either the vertical or horizontal planes as when there is a running sea and
you clip a couple wave tops (shear a main canopy line and rotate the vehicle to hit, HARD, in a load path not stressed for it) or if winds/currents
catch the canopy before or after touch down, potentially going waterskiing.
The temptation is to say that this aircraft does a little gull-tips+centerkeel hydrofoiling before slamming down on a breastbone like weapons bay
sponsons like a lot of waterfowl. But again, has _anyone_ looked at the seastate models they plan on doing this in and formed a notion of how they
plan to dump lift into a trough as the jet wants to skip along the crests and then suddenly flattens itself into a wave face?
No. Don't put the boat in harms way, just looking to justify keeping a couple Ohio's around longer than their main mission requires. Especially
not when the safest way to have truly deep-reach without triggering every missile launch warner on the planet is to go CBM with a depressed
THAT is how you keep the Ohio's 'perfect record' from getting mired in the litorals.
[edit on 25-2-2006 by ch1466]