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Possible to build a modern submarine aircraft carrier?

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posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 03:09 AM
I think that part of the reason why we don't build submergable aircraft carriers is because of the risk. Even if it was possible to built a submarine that can hold several hundred people, carry enough jet fuel, and the airplanes, it would be a very VERY expensive loss if it was sunk. You would loose many service men, the planes, and the ship it self. i just think that The risk outweighs the practicality. I will say that with the new f-35 being able to have short take offs and vertical landings like a harrier, the possibility of this type of aircraft carrier could someday be a possibilty.

Maybe when the icecaps melt and most if not all of the land is underwater these might be more practical LOL

posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 11:35 AM
I have always been fascinated with the concept of submarine a/c carriers..

And whether its economical feasible or not is another question..

Tactically feasible?
Strategically feasible?
You bet..

Why the fascination? Because if something like that were actually to be built then it would definitely qualify as the most complex machine built by man ever..
And that's why I hope somebody does it oneday.

Other benefits would include invaluable know-how in storage/launch/retrival of reusable strike units in dissimilar(atmospheric/underwater) environments; something that we humans would eventually need to delve into when we go about spacefaring.

I was really interested in the concept of launching/recovering the units underwater itself; this would completely bypass the issues faced with pressurised launches/retrieval and negate the need for surface launches.

However it would require severe re-design and development of fighter units.
Hec what are we here for??!

I propose retractable propeller-based underwater propulsion that generates enough thrust to allow the unit to gain height for a short conventional(rocket) thrust. This provides enough time for air-breathing engines to kick in.

So its like this:

1) Unit is launched underwater with a torpedo-style air pressurised momentum assist.
-Fuselage is shaped such that provides minimum resistance to the water environment(Wings for aerial flight may be swung back).

-At this time the air-breathing engines(intakes to exhaust) are sealed/airtight
and water-free. Same with the rocket assist packs.

-Retractable propeller-based propulsion systems kick-in building the speed of the unit. And by retractable, I mean something positioned where the undercarriage would normally go for land-based fighters.

-Now you have a highly mobile manueverable underwater strike unit and you can use it any subsurface attack role as long as the fuel source for its propeller-based propulsion lasts(I'm guessing this would be the normal aviation fuel source?) .
Weaponry for this type of role would be supercavitating projectiles would be explosive warheads?
Basically your underwater fighter...

2)Now you want to go above surface:

-You position yourself with enough momentum so you break the surface(the same way jet-skis/dolphins/flying fish).

-As soon as you are clear of the water(couple of meters min.?), you fire your
rocket packets to get you some extra altitude. Simultaneously the air-breathing engines are now exposed(sealing surface retracted) and they are fired to provide assist thrust. Your retractable propellers slowly dry themselves out with the aerial momentum slowly retract as you would have undercarriage being pulled up.

-When the rockets burn out detach them.
Your air-breathing engines(which have had sufficient time to air-breathe since exposure) are at full thrust and take over as primary propulsion.


-Slow down to sufficient speed, seal air-breathing surfaces.

-Gentle splashdown; lower propeller units.

-Lower nose cone(movable nosecone concorde-style?) and adjust propeller thrust vector to so the combined effect is to pull the craft under water.

-glide your way back into the open submerged-launchbay...



Gawd that was fun!! maybe unfeasible, uneconomical,unsafe, too complex..
but loads of fun!!

Now who's coming up with that 3D model for this?..
Im off to sketching with a pencil n paper!!

[edit on 19-4-2007 by Daedalus3]

posted on Apr, 21 2007 @ 10:06 AM
Sure there will be loads of problems to overcome when they finally decide to develop this concept (and i believe they will). Making something as complex as a subAC is no walk in the park. While it may be economically/technologically impractical at this time, doncha worry-- global warming and WW3-4 will fix all that

[edit on 21-4-2007 by gone_wrong]

posted on Apr, 21 2007 @ 10:11 AM

Originally posted by toreishi

Scientists at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island demonstrated in 1997 a fully submerged launch of a supercavitating projectile (with air injected in its nose) with a muzzle velocity of 5,082 feet (1,549 meters) per second, making it the first underwater weapon to break the sound barrier.

actually the Shkvall torpedoes have been doing that for quite a while now

posted on Apr, 24 2007 @ 05:33 PM
From my understanding the picture at the begin of this thread is a submarine tanker. Used for refilling jet fuel to aircraft carrier well deployed in hostile waters.p.s first post hope i did it right.

posted on Apr, 24 2007 @ 09:36 PM
I did a few doodles on the subject a while back, here is my design for a "cruiser submarine" with a helicopter hanger, c1970.

Slightly smaller version:

Through-deck version with VTOL fighters, same size as Typhoon sub:

Analysis of pressure-vessel hanger required dimensions, again in boat with overal size similar to Typhoon:

(aircraft depicted is a Yak 141 fighter)

And a concept for a light VTOL fighter with extremely small dimensions when 'folded"

Alturnative aircraft approach is a tail-sitting jet with anular wing:

And lastly a stealthy sea-plane fighter that could be floated off the back of a sub:

posted on Apr, 26 2007 @ 06:46 PM
Thats pretty cool. The pic kinda looks like Galactica too.

The Galactica (although made for space) has some similarities. The Vipers launch from vertical tubes. It seems like a good idea. Who knows maybe we'll see it in our lifetime. One can only dream

[edit on 26-4-2007 by om3ga123]

posted on Apr, 26 2007 @ 06:50 PM
Vipers launch from tubs slanting down actually. There are many clips of vipers exiting tubes downwards.

Shattered OUT...

posted on Apr, 27 2007 @ 12:04 PM

I have read this thread with interest primarily because I am ex Royal Navy and have spent time on both subs and carriers, so here is my 2 pence worth.

The idea of a submersible aircraft carrier at first sounds pretty good, but when you delve into it there are a number of factors to take into consideration, the first being that an aircraft carriers real value is the fact it carries aircraft and can act as a movable platform for those aircraft giving the country that owns it a powerful presence anywhere in the world. If it were submerged then there would be a few issues with the launch and recovery of any aircraft so this would have a huge effect on its value as a military unit. When a carrier is at sea, its launching and recovering aircraft almost all the time.

The carrier provides additional value, as it’s a very visible sign of power. Just look at how quickly all the fuss dies down over Taiwan for example, when the Americans send a carrier group to the area, China always eases the pressure off. This is because they are fully aware of the capabilities of such a collection of units, and the fact they can see the thing means they know the Americans are not ‘Making it all up’ and that they really have sent a carrier to the area.

There are also escorts to consider, no aircraft carrier operates without an escort of multiple ships and submarines of different capabilities, from minesweepers to battleships. These ships act as a defensive screen for the carrier. It may sound like a great idea to be able to get rid of these and only have your carrier to pop up as and when it’s needed, but what happens if its location is discovered? Suddenly, you have a very high value unit that is effectively undefended, and the crew who are on the thing will know that, very acutely, so you may want to consider the possibility that a sub-carrier may sound great, but persuading anyone to go to war in one may be a bit of a challenge. Its worth noting here that despite Tom Clancy movies, modern nuclear subs don’t actually disappear under water in a blink of an eye, it takes some time, there is not a great deal of point trying to give a standard time as each boat is slightly different, but the time it takes to submerge is a lot longer than most people realise.

Defence is something you would have to consider on the tactical level very deeply, the submerged the sub-carrier would have tremendous difficulty detecting, let alone engaging, any hostile aircraft that may be in the airspace above, this would lead to a very tricky decision on whether to even surface and launch at all, as doing so may jeopardise your element of surprise and even your survival.

I suppose my point with all this is that carriers and subs are effective because their roles are not mixed, one provides air power, the other is a stealthy hunter that would prefer to remain unnoticed until it engages at a time of its choosing. By trying to mix the two roles together in one, you begin to cancel out the strengths of each platform, a carrier cannot be a carrier underwater, and a sub is not a stealth weapon if its on the surface.


posted on Apr, 27 2007 @ 08:36 PM
Somewhat realited in 1951 U.S. Navy came up with theXF2Y. It was the first supersonic seaplane. Twin hydroplanes extended from the fuselage for take off, landing, and beaching. In 1956 supposedly the U.S. Navy abandoned the Sea Dart program. Something on the line of that fighter would be perfect. The subcarrier wouldn't need a runway or fully surface.

posted on Apr, 27 2007 @ 08:58 PM
How do I put picture's from my computer on the site. Don't know much about computer so be very specific. Thank You in advance.

posted on Apr, 28 2007 @ 10:33 AM
Hi Joe,

I think I have seen a show on discovery that had that sea jet you mentioned, cool looking thing kinda like a SAAB Draken with hydrofoil ski’s. I think it was abandoned due to the cost, time and effort needed to keep them serviceable in the face of salt corrosion. Sea water is almost like acid in its effects on metal over time.

I can see your point though about how using the whole sea as your runway gives flexibility to the platform. I have to wonder though, how effective an aircraft that has to incorporate the ability to rigors of sea landings/recovery would fair against an aircraft that does not have to incorporate those considerations into its design.

Even so, I can think of another reason why sub-carriers would drastic issues, and it goes a bit like this. Admirals like ships, oh don’t get me wrong, they like subs, planes helicopters and stuff, but they really, really like ships. Ill try to illustrate my point like this…

Around the time I left the service, the Navy was adopting a new frigate, the Type 23, or Duke class. I state straight out, I never served on one, and the only experience I have with them is that I did maintenance work on some when they came into the fleet maintenance base I was at. I had mostly been attached to the older and larger type 22 Frigates, but very early on in my career I had spent a bit of time on a Leander class frigate too.

The Type 23’s, as anyone who reads Jane’s can tell you originally came out without a ships computer, pretty odd eh? Or so you may think. Have a look at that though from an Admiral’s point of view though, to adopt a new class of ship, the government has to pay for it all. So he has a choice, he can either go for fewer hulls in the water and a nice shiny, expensive computer, or he can opt for more ships and buy some in at a later date when they are probably going to be cheaper anyway. But more importantly, more ships means more crew, that’s real people. And not just on the ships either, that’s more staff at the training bases, more support staff at the maintenance bases to look after all his new ships, so his whole Navy gets a little bigger, and size counts to Admiral’s, it counts a lot.

As it is, I think all the ships of that class have now been retrofitted with a computer a lot better and cheaper than anything that could have been bought at the time, but this all shows the mindset. Having ships like these would mean Admirals would have to admit to having a small fleet, they would be made fun at at Admirals only lunches with other countries. So I doubt the sub-carrier will ever make it into a fleet role, maybe as some kind of marine assault role if they could be built cheaply enough.

For the pictures m8, sorry, no idea.


posted on Apr, 28 2007 @ 02:50 PM
Hi Utwig

I agree with you that Admirals like big ships. But Presidents like to have them most advanced military capability. Also carrier groups are not to covert. With a subcarrier you get the ability to reinforce special operations with aerial support with no visual warning.

I also agree that seawater would rust the fuselage of the Sea Dart. But with the advances that are coming out ceramic\kevlar armor(Europe's Scorpion tank) that would eliminate the rusting problem.

I got further in a military aircraft book I own and came across the XFY-1. That is an experimental vertical takeoff plane built in the 50s. My book doesn't give a scrap date for that project. That could be another option. Also have a picture, still don't know how to place it here. Copy and paste doesn't work.

posted on Aug, 24 2007 @ 03:56 AM
what do you guys think about this?

or this

[edit on 8.24.07 by toreishi]

posted on Nov, 18 2007 @ 06:34 AM
Thought this might interest the OP, looks like there was some serious study into this as some point by several country's and contractors.

posted on Dec, 3 2007 @ 08:13 AM
a sub carrier would obviously need a runway, but the fact of being a submarine would leave the runway constantly wet making conventional landing that bit more harder... i think, i'm no expert on this stuff, just a thought while reading.

posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 11:31 AM
HOW ABOUT THIS INSTEAD OF LAUNCHING FULL SIZE AIRCRAFT HOW ABOUT UAVS. 2 or 3 with varible payloads would make a pretty good stike force.

posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 12:03 PM
hi all, just wanted to contribute a couple of videos showing various air assets that could potentially be used on a submersible aircraft carrier.

Cormorant UAV Concept

Sea Dart Prototype

posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 08:26 PM
oh and that last video is of a Convair XFY-1 Pogo, just clarifying this as i dont want it to be misinterpreted as a Sea Dart

apologies to everyone, was very sleepy when i made the above post. peace

posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 08:39 PM
We already have a submarine aircraft carrier - and have had it since the late 1980s. It's called "the late build Los Angeles class attack submarine." It can launch Tomahawk cruise missiles, which are unmanned attack bomber aircraft, both from its torpedo tubes and from a set of vertical launch tubes forward of the conning tower. The only thing it can't do, and doesn't have to do, is recover its aircraft.

But that's coming, if it turns out to be desirable, and it may not. It's a matter of whether or not recovery and reuse of a cruise missile turns out to be an economically viable proposition.

As it is, advanced cruise missiles are available which can be recovered in flight by aircraft, refueled, re-armed, and sent back out on other missions. Dale Brown describes the concept in detail in his book "Air Battle Force," and a powerful concept it is - the airborne aircraft carrier. So why not a submersible aircraft carrier?

Well, it depends. However, making the aircraft carrier - something the size of a Soviet "Typhoon" or an American "Ohio" class - submersible does something significant for the carrier - it gives it the capacity to hide.

A battle group no longer would consist of Aegis cruisers, missile frigates, oilers - it can be stealthy, a nuclear powered wolf-pack of the submersible carrier and a smaller battle group of nuclear-powered attack and missile subs, perhaps the new "arsenal" ship with almost a hundred vertical launch tubes, with only its conning tower and a foot or two of deck or freeboard showing above water - and that small part of the ship radar-stealthy.

The number of men drops precipitously as the ships' size drops and automation increases, and as the aircraft are no longer controlled by onboard pilots but by controllers onboard the carrier - or on aircraft elsewhere in theater.

The whole concept of battle changes to a dance of hard, invisible shadows darting toward unsuspecting targets, engaging in a second of fire and destruction and going to their next targets or back to their carrier vehicle. Men and computers search for enemy, locate them, mark them for destruction, destroy them and then move on to other targets or back to home, while spotter aircraft like Predator or Global Hawk build detailed maps of battles that no human eye can see in full, sending warning of ambushes to troops on the ground and sending ground forces to take enemy positions before the enemy has even opened fire.

The ground forces themselves are becoming robotic; from self-guided tanks and transport trucks to tracked machine gunners and bomb technicians, all multiplying the battle capacity of modern infantry troops dramatically.

Where fanaticism expands the enemy's resolve and capacity to prevail, our advantage lies in our ingenuity and our ability to develop better and better tools to fight - we are now a nation of over three hundred million humans, with the industrial capacity to double or triple that figure with self-piloted aircraft, tanks, helicopters, crawlers, medic robots with self-deploying stretchers and manipulators that can treat wounds and other injuries, machine-guns mounted on tracks and built to tell friend from foe and to bring the battle to the enemy with persistence and ferocity.

Eventually nanoweapons will dominate the battlefield - tiny machines to destroy enemy weapons or structures in swarms and flocks - or perhaps win wars in ways we can't even imagine.

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