Pentagon plans ’flying submarine’
2010 07 07

By Tom Chivers | Telegraph.co.uk


Pentagon researchers are attempting to develop a military vehicle which can travel underwater like a submarine before bursting out of the waves and flying like an aeroplane.


The manta ray-like flying submarine from The Incredibles. Photo: PIXAR

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the US military science and technology department, has set about creating an aircraft that can fly low over the water until near its target before disappearing under the sea to avoid detection.

It would then creep closer in submarine form before attacking its target, probably a ship or coastal installation, and fly home.

New Scientist reports that the project, which has been in development since 2008, has reached design proposal stage, and several outside developers have submitted designs. DARPA could start allocating funding to developers in as little as a year.

While the principles of hydrodynamic and aerodynamic flight are similar, the technological challenges are profound. Aircraft need to be as light as possible, so that they can use a minimum of power to get airborne, while submarines need to be dense and strong to withstand water pressure. Heavier-than-air aircraft get their lift from airflow over their wings - submarines simply pump water in and out to change their buoyancy.


Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, famed for the U-2 and Blackbird spy planes that flew higher than anything else in the world in their day, is trying for a different altitude record: an airplane that starts and ends its mission 150 feet underwater. The Cormorant, a stealthy, jet-powered, autonomous aircraft that could be outfitted with either short-range weapons or surveillance equipment, is designed to launch out of the Trident missile tubes in some of the U.S. Navy’s gigantic Cold War era Ohio-class submarines. Source

One method of getting around the latter problem is to design a submarine that is lighter than water, but - like an upside-down aeroplane - uses lift generated by its wings to force it away from the surface. Then, after surfacing, the wings’ "angle of attack" would be changed to generate upwards lift instead, allowing it to fly.

Graham Hawkes, a submarine designer, believes that modern lightweight carbon fibre composites could be used to build a craft that is both strong enough and light enough to fly above and below the water. He has already designed and built a submersible craft called the "Super Falcon" which uses stubby wings to "fly" down to 300 metres. He says that if it were given jet engines and larger wings, it could fly at up to 900kph (560mph) in the air, while still being capable of underwater travel at around 18kph (11mph). At these speeds, the behaviour of water and air over the control surfaces is similar. "Think about it as flying under water," says Mr Hawkes. "It can be done. It just needs a lot of work."

One problem could be overcome in a dramatic fashion - in order to get the wings to start generating downward lift, the craft would have to get underwater; but a lighter-than-water vessel would struggle to do so. Mr Hawkes suggests copying birds: "You might have to put the nose down and literally dive, smack, into the water. It would certainly be spectacular."

There are a variety of other design problems to overcome. Ordinary batteries capable of giving the craft a 44km (28 mile) range - as specified by DARPA - would weigh more than the rest of the vessel, but running it on ordinary fuel would require a supply of air, meaning a snorkel and a maximum depth of just a few meters.

Also, jet engines - which run at several hundred degrees celsius - would most likely explode from the sudden change in temperature if they were rapidly submerged after airborne use, but piston engines would not survive being immersed in water. Jim McKenna, an engineer at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, says: "You can’t let cold seawater get at a hot engine because the thermal shock will blow it apart." The Pentagon’s dream of a flying submarine is still some way away yet.

Article from: Telegraph.co.uk




Russian concept flying sub.





Related Articles
’Flying car’ gets go-ahead
Secret X-37B Space Plane Spotted by Amateur Skywatchers
DARPA: Hacking Nature to Create Weapons of the Gods
Science fiction inspires DARPA weapon
DARPA seeks $750m for hypersonic roboplane testbed
Flying Submarine - Wikipedia
Possible to build a modern submarine aircraft carrier?
The Navy’s Swimming Spy Plane


Latest News from our Front Page

Ancient Roman Nanotechnology Inspires Next-Generation Holograms for Information Storage
2014 10 21
The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s, as they could not work ...
Rapid Geomagnetic Reversal Possibility: Confirmed
2014 10 21
From the video: "The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is the Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia." Tune into Red Ice Radio: Ben Davidson - Suspicious0bservers: Space Weather ...
Georgia Guide Stone 2014 cube stone removal
2014 10 21
From: Youtube: Was it all just a gag? it seems the cube stone just happens to be made out of the same Elberton granite that the rest of this morbid monument is made from.
Secret Project Created Weaponized Ebola In South Africa In The 1980s
2014 10 21
“No records are available to confirm that the biological agents were destroyed.” Operating out of South Africa during the Apartheid era in the early 1980’s, Dr. Wouter Basson launched a secret bioweapons project called Project Coast. The goal of the project was to develop biological and chemical agents that would either kill or sterilize the black population and assassinate political enemies. ...
Controlling the American Mind: The Viral Liturgical Psychodrama
2014 10 20
In order to successfully navigate the raging sea of media shit storm, one must be ever-mindful of the overall designs of mass media without getting lost in endless details and rabbit trails that will be forgotten in a month. Remember Bowe Bergdahl? Remember how media was furiously researching his back story to make details match-up, all of which ended up ...
More News »