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Thinking outside the ship
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Surface warships used to carry torpedoes in pivoted platforms consisting of up to five tubes. Today, if they carry them at all, it is in some sort of rocket-based launching mechanism that is still taking up deck space.

Submarines have torpedo tubes but are very limited in the volume of space they can allocate for torpedo storage - resulting in relatively few torpedoes being available for combat.

Why not design torpedo tubes to be mounted on the outside of the ships hull. If you picture a drinking straw glued to the side of a zuchinni you'll get a sense of the proportions involved. The tubes would be loaded in port and are water tight until needed. The torpedoes would be remotely armed prior to launching. A 100-meter long sub could easily carry tubes 75 meters long enabling perhaps 10 torpedoes per tube. With a tube on each side of the ship, that means 20 torpedoes are carried with a likely minimal sacrifice in speed due to increased drag.

It is also likely these can be mounted perhaps two, three maybe even four tubes on each side. A ship or sub carrying as many as 80 torpedoes (cruise missiles, anti-aircaraft missiles etc.) would be formidable to say the least.

Why worry about deck space? removing any explosive hazard off a ship's decks is a design point for surface vessels. For submarines, they can always use the internal volume for other purposes.

Moonguy, Jun 19 2008

Why stop at the tubes? Richard_20Rogers_20Submarine
Shameless elf promotion [AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 19 2008]


       What a drag!
Ford, Jun 19 2008

       What depth are torpedoes rated for? Are torpedoes stil manually armed? Can the little spinning torpedo propellors be heard by passing ships?
MisterQED, Jun 19 2008

       [MisterQED] I do not know the depth limit for firing torpedoes but I am pretty sure it is well above the dive limit for subs. Torpedoes today are essentially miniture, computer-controlled submarines loaded with explosives. They can be manually armed, but this is not standard practice, at least not in the US Navy. In fact, torpedos are not actually 'armed' until some time after they are fired. Having a torpedo explode a half second after leaving the tube can really ruin a sub commander's day.   

       The torpedoes' propellers can be heard, but by then it is usually too late to do much about it. . .
Moonguy, Jun 19 2008

       //a likely minimal sacrifice in speed due to increased drag. //   

Custardguts, Jun 19 2008

       //it's well above the dive limit for subs// That is my guess. I'm guessing they never expect or are able to launch a torpedo below a certain depth, yet design the sub to go much lower, so my guess is that the torpedoes would be worthless after a deep dive.
MisterQED, Jun 19 2008

       Sort-of baked; early subs mounted torpedoes in cradles on their top casing. And in WW2, both the Germans and the Japanese developed mini-subs with one or two standard torpedoes carried externally.
8th of 7, Jun 20 2008

       Why not save the mounting of the tubes and strap the torpedoes to the outside of the ship?
xxobot, Jun 20 2008

       Surface warships, except for the big ones, are going more for smaller radar cross sections and speed. This means angled flat surfaces and hydroplaning.   

       Underwater warships are going for decreased drag and lowered turbulence, and speed. This means smooth curved surfaces. Most fast fish are notorious for having very few sticky-outy bits, and those that do retract them in "flight" mode.   

       The reason speed is important in both is that it is both an attack and defense advantage.   

       You idea scuppers both trends. You need semi-autonomous, flocking, exploding bouys.
4whom, Jun 20 2008

       I know for a fact that there are ships which carry torpedos internally. ten on a side would be a somewhat small number for such vessels, and strapping highly explosive devices in a nice straight line all along the side of a seagoing vehicle sounds like a pretty bad idea to me. Most military vehicles tend to keep their explosives near either end, so they are harder to hit.
ye_river_xiv, Nov 02 2008


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