It did happen actually.
Though I recalled it as you did, a random shelling of a pair of coastal targets by a subs deck gun.
Submarine launched missiles are of course vastly more effective at delivering massed instantaneous fires today but the notional concept of a submarine
aircraft carrier IS STILL A GOOD ONE.
If only you are not fooled into the "I know! Let's ditch our airplane and recover it for reuse!" idiocy.
The simple fact of the matter is that even a cheap cruise missile is going to run you well over a 100 grande and while that comes with some advantages
(sealed body outside the pressure hull, no need to carry and transfer separate fuel, no need to to wait for a full radiusX2 return etc. etc.) the fact
of the matter is that if you can combine VTOL capabilities with a FLAT DECK (ala Typhoon) and an _overhead_ forward translating hatch (water pressure
holds the door down and forward motion keeps it pressed back to assist with the seal) to a double decker pressure hull, it becomes possible to launch
airpower that can both target and drop for itself using miniature PGM like the Viper Strike or LOCAAS type weapon to further extend the range and
reattack options. These being on the order of 40-60 grande in mass production would then mean that the drone itself (which would never be directly
exposed) and the mission costs (500-1,500 dollars per hour) would be your driving variables for cost.
Of course it's unlikely that you would have a conventional submarine design at that point.
Something more like a wedge or flattened ovoid comes to mind but this too gives some structural advantages, most noteably inherent to the idea of
removing the sail and easing port reloads through a much larger hatch access while employing a relay buoy system or offboard satellite controls. This
being one submersible which would NOT be used as an SSN would in turn mean that it COULD be built and employed, much more cheaply as either an AIP
hybrid (massive hydrogen tanks) or as an overall smaller nuke boat. Even as a combined SSGN/Special Mission styled 'covert airpower asset' for
supporting special warfare operators that could not officially be supported by surface assets in the theater.
Obviously you will need to work on some things. Such as survivability issues if the upper hangar floods and the boat wants to turn turtle. And
probably some kind of inflateable skirt or high-blow + floodable/extendable stabilizers to give you adequate freeboard and prevent excess roll and
heel during air ops in rough seas.
Unfortunately, we have evolved an ideal of making subs do everything for so long (with all the gold plate problems that entails) that it seems
'natural' to force the specialization of airpower assets to support /their/ needs rather than taking a good long look at what a sub can, could and
should be _optimized_ to achieve to support the warfighter /inland/.
Such is what happens when you fail to fully address if not redress the assymetry in design specialization inherent to a blue water, high intensity,
force now facing cheap-and-deep threats inshore.
Assets like Jimmy Carter are moronic in simply cut-and-splice continuing the problem of single platform specialists too valuable and at the same time
too restricted (no VLS at all) to be useful in total-dominance leveraging the kinds of forces (small and covert) and the kinds of battles (sustained
LOIC) that they will engage in with opfors that are both primitive and ubiquitous.
I'm sure we have some level of 'standin' capability inherent to a small production run of torpedo encapsulate ISR systems like Sea Ferret. But
throwaway spotter drones don't do enough to make prolonged warfare or warfare at depth workable for the small SWO team to be safe and thus
-commitable- to otherwise risky ops. Despite what is said and done to promite black special warfare cadres, there is no surety of 'unacknowledged'
warfare by intermediaries either.