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Submersible Navy

All future Naval ships feature WW2 style submersible ability
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The new warships being built are radar-stealthy and resemble submarines with their limited radar reflecting deck accessories such as guns and masts. The idea is to take it one step further and add submersible ability to these ships so they could completely disappear as necessary.

They wouldn't be constructed as modern submarines designed to go down thousands of feet, just a few hundred feet to avoid surface detection.

I'm a big believer in deterrence, and I think the entire US Navy disappearing from all the radar screens of the world during drills and times of crisis would send a message that this was a force that probably shouldn't be messed with. As I watch us trying to find this lost airliner in the Indian ocean it becomes apparent how good the sea is at hiding things.

Submerge to 200 feet, change course and after a few hours, unless there was a submarine trailing you to begin with, you're not going to be found. Add un-manned mini subs to patrol and attack any tails that were put on these ships and you've got a virtually indestructible Navy. With more survivable ships, we could build fewer of them and save money.

I'd start with stealthy / submersible aircraft carriers.

doctorremulac3, Apr 12 2014

Heck, they look like subs already. http://www.foxnews....US+Latest+-+Text%29
[doctorremulac3, Apr 12 2014]

or... http://en.wikipedia...ubmarine_Russia.svg
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 12 2014]

http://en.wikipedia...ne_aircraft_carrier submarines with on-board aircraft [xenzag, Apr 13 2014]

Prior HB art Submersible_20AirCraft_20Carrier
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 15 2014]


       This is a practically impossible excellent idea, although submarines the size of aircraft carriers would be difficult to move around undetected. Just the sound of 5,000 sailors breathing would light up SOSUS nets for nautical miles in every direction.   

       Load tube 1 with a buttered croissant and fire!
Alterother, Apr 12 2014

       Hear what you're saying. Couple of things you could do. These new ships already are very automated and carry about half the crew of the ship it's replacing and on top of it you could add soundproofing as well.   

       But yea, it would bring back the "run silent" command from WW2 times. Everybody standing still, whispering and looking up (for some reason) like in the movies.
doctorremulac3, Apr 12 2014

       Those movies weren't exactly realistic. The number of highly accurate submarine movies I've seen could be counted on a lumberjack's hand.
Alterother, Apr 12 2014

       My provisonal bun is there as presuming there's a machine that goings "ping ping ping" at about 45 minute intervals and someone has to drop a spanner...
not_morrison_rm, Apr 12 2014

       Got an idea for a video game to keep the kids quiet. "Silent Running" There's a mic and they sit on the WII balance board to sense motion as they watch the animated sub on the TV, they need to keep completely quiet and still or the sub gets depth charged. The lurking destroyer's sonar pings and swishing of the propellors fading in and out to add to the effect.   

       There is a WII game where you sit in the lotus position on the balance board and if you move at all you loose. There's a candle flame that flickers with the slightest movement of your body and if you blow it out the sensei tells you you've lost. A sub blowing up might be more interesting than a candle blowing out.   

       Actually, you wouldn't need the mic. The balance board is sensitive enough that if you talk, your body moves enough that you blow out the candle. I've played it, it's not as boring as it sounds. Standing completely still is actually pretty hard.
doctorremulac3, Apr 12 2014

       From wiki:   

       "News that the British submarine M2 had sunk during aircraft launching trials during 1933, and damage to the XSL-2[4] during aquatic testings in the Anacostia river area, caused the whole idea of submarine-borne aircraft to be abandoned by the U.S. Navy."   

       Huh. Not sure I believe that.   

       It's true, but it's not the whole story. The Borg can probably quote chapter and verse for us.   

       There are/have been many submarines capable of transporting and deploying aircraft; I think the Reds even looked at designing an ICBM tube-launched rocket fighter to defend their big boomers from antisubmarine aircraft.   

       It's just that if we're going to submersify the entire navy, we'll need to build submarines the size of fleet aircraft carriers, which when surfaced will function as fleet carriers, because the strategic effectivity of the modern navy is pretty much centered around fleet carriers, and a fleet carrier is not something that just goes sneaking around wherever it pleases without being noticed. At two hundred feet--or even two hundred yards--a submerged object that size would be visible from low-flying aircraft. It's entirely feasible that both surface sensors and surveillance sattelites would be able to track its movements by momentary changes in local water displacement.
Alterother, Apr 12 2014

       Each is capable of generating and travelling inside of a tidal wave, and at times can be propelled just by the inertia of the water alone, although they are nuclear powered warships.
rcarty, Apr 12 2014

       How about fleets of smaller "Harrier carriers"?   

       This form of the fleet idea could be extended to a kind of "Mechano/Lego" full scale carrier too. The flight deck travels in sections. When it's time to become a floating airfield, tie up to your neighbour, and winch the thing together.   

       When not in use, and submerged, the parts could be separated. Make them "louvred shutters" that hang down when not in use, and rotate 90 degrees - with as little drag as possible - to form decks. (Once above water, the louvres could rotate to form a flat surface instead of a "stepladder").   

       Actually something like that might even be able to go and lurk down below the surface once the planes were gone? I don't know what the turnaround time would be.   

       Just in case that's not clear enough. The "stepladders" hang so as to present the thin edge when not in use. To deploy, twist them, so they "lie flat". And then twist the "rungs/steps" at any convenient time to turn them into full or partial decking.
skoomphemph, Apr 12 2014

       Idea already baked by the entire navy of Nejhaanistan.
xenzag, Apr 12 2014

       [skoomph], I like the 'multiple modular submersible carrier' idea, but you have to work out what to do if you lose a chunk out of the middle. Maybe you make the individual craft identical and each capable of being the bow, stern, or amidships? Also, the fit-up would have to be very tight, since the surfaced carrier must be underway during flight ops.
Alterother, Apr 12 2014

       There's a bigger problem with all these ideas.   

       Go back a very long time. Someone one day realises that with a big enough stick he could win his next fight. So he gets a nice stick, practices hitting things with it, wins a fight with it.   

       He loses his next fight. The other guy has a better stick.   

       This goes over to the troop scale. We attack those big guys with sticks... And from behind (new innovations are constantly evolving now). This troop beats the neighbours, but at some point news of the stick gets out, and somewhere else in the world is the genius who ties a rock to his stick, and wins a fight that way.   

       Someone invents armour. Swords. Matchlocks, flintlocks... and now you all have known where I'm heading with this.   

       Yes, that's right. The long term effect of inventing the stick used for hitting people with, is that more people are killed in battle than was previously the case. That's it. Strategically it changes nothing or little. The news gets out; the world re-arms; the fights get bloodier.   

       I suppose in fairness to the eternal arms race, one has to remember that when war and fighting get deadlier people lose some of their natural enthusiasm for it. We live in pretty peaceful times in spite of all the lunatics out there who long to bathe in rivers of blood, and it's the Bomb that did that for us.
skoomphemph, Apr 12 2014

       Damn right it was.
Alterother, Apr 12 2014

       I believe the French tested out the submersible navy concept in July 1940, with mixed results.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 12 2014

       [Alterother] I think I must've been out jumping fences on the hobbyhorse when you commented on the modular carrier.   

       I'm assuming that it's not just underway, but also doing a much higher speed than the Queen Mary when busy with flight ops. That would make things a bit more difficult in the (likely) situation where it's a displacement hull (rather than eg. a hydrofoil), because the waterline length sets the "speed limit". Lots of small craft are going to go slowly.   

       This being the Halfbakery, the way to save the day would seem to be to have about 2km worth of runway-craft, and to move a bit more slowly. Maybe have 4km worth to make up for holes that get shot into the structure.   

       Better still, travel with a very rapid Pycrete generator, and just build a gigantic iceberg to operate from.
skoomphemph, Apr 12 2014

       //I believe the French tested out the submersible navy concept in July 1940, with mixed results.//   

       I was thinking more of one that comes back up afterwards.
doctorremulac3, Apr 12 2014

       I don't remember the precise speeds involved, but in order to launch and recover airplanes an aircraft carrier must steam into the wind at a pretty good clip, like fifteen knots or something.   

       If you want to put a carrier together out of separate craft which lock together, they must mate so tightly as if they truly were one hull, and then perform under power as so.
Alterother, Apr 13 2014

       I do not understand why a modular locking platform needs to be moving in order to either launch or recover aircraft if it is long enough. If a majority of the craft remained submerged then surface waves under a certain size could be compensated for.   

       As I understand it, steaming into the wind helps the launching airplanes gain a little bit of extra lift and for those landing it provides additional drag at a crucial moment. I suppose that if the modular aircraft carrier could be made the size of a landborne airport then it could just sit there, but something that size that has zero mobility would be tremendously vulnerable to attack, both during flight operations and during assembly.
Alterother, Apr 13 2014

       That's why you have it semi-automated, so all the subs can come from many directions, pop up above the surface when they are close together and lock together within 30 seconds after surfacing. Quickly launch or land a few planes, then split appart and dissapear.   

       In a major naval battle, if you've got say 3 or 4 times the number of carrier modules that you need for a single landing strip in one general area, all of the units cans be moving around in ways that appear somewhat random and hard to predict for the enemy, but runways would pop in and out of existance as needed to support the aircraft.
scad mientist, Apr 13 2014

       //something that size that has zero mobility would be tremendously vulnerable to attack, both during flight operations and during assembly.//   

       Not necessarily.
Assembly could be accomplished while submerged. Instead of a submerged ship, consider a submerged train with modular cars which are each their own engine and so can detach from the caravan in any given configuration. The length of runway is predetermined by the aircraft needing to be deployed, and submerged reinforcements can be engaged as needed.

       It's a real shame that this will only end up being a military funded project. The benefits to humanity of being able to tackle the oceans before we overrun the surface area of Earth vastly outweigh the strategic importance of one-upping the competition.   

       It's that old story of "He who wants peace had better prepare for war".   

       In fact the great cost and difficulty of implementing schemes like this could even be seen as money well spent, rather than as waste, because costliness immediately puts some potential war-makers out of business - and possibly even makes them peaceful. Push the cost of war down and the blood will flow. (Ask at Kalashnikov for more details on how to commit that crime against humanity brilliantly.)   

       Also one's existing systems have been studied by groups of experts almost as astute as the Halfbakers, so their weaknesses are known and calculated. Something like an underwater navy is an unknown. It might not be able to deliver on all its promises, but who can know? That messes up the calculations, which is exactly what the peaceful want to do to those who lust after blood and burnt flesh.
skoomphemph, Apr 13 2014

       Exactly. Calculation is the central word to consider when dealing with potential conflict.   

       People in power often decide they want more power, so they come to the card table that is geopolitics with dreams of a glorious empire where as many people as possible live under the iron fist of their decree, whatever that might be. The conquered people need to hand all power over to the state, specified god or just the glorious leader himself.   

       The other people at that card table have card hands that might win or loose when the aggressor "calls" the rest of the players at the table by initiating armed conflict. The goal of people who just want to sit at the table in peace is to stop the aggressor from "calling", that is, initiating war where his military assets go up against the target's military assets.   

       Here's one thing you, as somebody wanting peace have going for you. The aggressor probably isn't going to pull the trigger if it knows he's not going to win, or even if he's UNSURE, he's going to win. Ironically the thing that's been most effective at keeping the peace over the last half century is that bomb under the card table that will blow everybody up if any one person decides to push the button, mutually assured nuclear destruction. However, for that to work, the aggressor needs to think the defender will actually push the button and blow all the players up.   

       So what's a dictator to do in the age of nuclear weapons? He needs to take it slow. He needs to win little wars. Incremental taking over of this and that territory in a slow and methodical process. Putin might be doing this right now.   

       So how do you counter that? Make each hand he plays a looser. When he builds up his military for potential non-nuclear conflict, build up yours with better equipment so when they do the math, they see that pulling the trigger would be bad for them, or at least create an unsure outcome. When they grab territory, bolster your defenses in the next territory in his line of conquest. This isn't too difficult to understand. It's been going on for as long as there's been war. When they bring new or more numerous arms to the table, bring better ones for your side.   

       So where does this, or any concept of improving means of waging war fit in? It minimizes it's impact on the people who have to pay for all of this, the taxpayer and maximizes it's deterrence to any potential aggressor. If we're going to have a navy, I think it would be better to have fewer ships with better designs. There's been an east vs west, numbers vs quality debate going on throughout the cold war specifically in the design of air superiority fighter design. To over simplify, east thinks "I'll make 5 fighters for every 1 the evil west makes." and the west says "We'll design a fighter that can shoot down 6 fighters for every 1 we loose." Which policy is better is up for debate another time.   

       Anyway, a stealth navy makes pulling that trigger to start a war that much more of a guessing game, and if you want to follow the Art of War rules, you're supposed to leave as little to chance as possible when waging war. Winning a battle against a disappearing navy would be a very chancy thing.   

       And by the way, I'd add a whole new advanced art of radar spoofing to this, that is, little robot ships all over the place getting painted by radar and sending out amplified radar reflections so you think you're looking at an aircraft carrier when you're looking at something the size of a tugboat. (Not sure how feasible this is, it seems like something that might be possible.) So when the bad guys asks his admirals any question about the enemy fleet location, strength and capability, the answers are always "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know." This is the kind of thing that makes an aggressor think "Hmm, maybe today isn't the best day to start my war. Maybe I"ll just have another parade to stroke my ego."
doctorremulac3, Apr 13 2014

       Alright I'm convinced, but I see the international hauling of freight as having a far greater benefit than threat deterrence will.
Cargo could be hauled even under the arctic ice in trains miles long and far larger than any conventional train could be. There would be no weather patterns to contend with, you'd have guaranteed delivery times, more direct line-of-sight travel, minimal piracy, and the military would still get to tweak the designs because the trains would require, or need to contain their own, escort.

       If somebody's going to end up with the invisible navy it might as well be Canada.   

       //        That's why you have it semi-automated, so all the subs can come from many directions, pop up above the surface when they are close together and lock together within 30 seconds after surfacing. Quickly launch or land a few planes, then split appart and dissapear.    //   

       I think the reality may interfere slightly with your brilliant concept. It takes more than thirty seconds to simply change direction in a large oceangoing vessel, not to speak of conducting complex maneuvers with many craft.   

       With technology that does not yet exist, it might be possible for a bunch of subs to pop up and form into a functional airstrip in a few hours, if the weather's nice. Plus you've still got to steer it so that the planes are taking off into the wind regardless of the length. Trying to land an airplane on a floating platform in a crosswind is shear madness.
Alterother, Apr 13 2014

       If most of the "subs" (taking that as an adaptable concept) were pylons when holding up decking - each with an autonomous motor, then when orienting to the wind, the platform might be more manoevreable than a carrier. Each pylon could kind-of pirouette in such a way that the structure as a whole rotated round its centre. (Like those arrays of small wheeled vehicles used to move and position megastructures on land.)   

       A completely different option that now occurs is that of piggy-backing fighters on VSTOL "take-offers" whose specialized task is to get planes up to operating altitude - and possibly even beyond - quickly, and without net consumption of the fighter's own fuel. A rocket might even do (although G-forces etc might be a problem). A huge problem is landing. The best solution I can come up with is that everyone "crashes in the ocean" when done. Trouble is even if you manage that, turn-around would be slow. I imagine that often you'd want the fighters to go straight back to battle after quickly re-arming and refueling.   

       Pretending the objections away certainly gives a difficult target to track, and lots of surprise. Even if not building something like this oneself, it would probably be a good idea to at least continually seek to make it feasible, just to have some understanding of it. And now is not a bad time to start at least thinking out the defences against the "rocket and splash" airforce, just in case some other arms racer figures out how to make something like it work.
skoomphemph, Apr 13 2014

       It's not beyond the realm of reason that current-gen fighter technology could be built into a flying boat sort of thing. And rocket/jet-assisted takeoff is old hat (wiki 'JATO' for full details and resultant urban myths), no serious issues with G-forces or anything. It's even been done off of ships a few times.
Alterother, Apr 13 2014

       Another way to achieve this effect is to keep the current navy at the current sea level then wait for global warming and the purported rise in sea levels accompanying that phenomenon.
AusCan531, Apr 14 2014

       The perfect plan for any nation that wants a two-feet- underwater navy and doesn't want to pay for it.
Alterother, Apr 14 2014

       I can forsee navy pilots experiencing some difficulties landing on a submerged aircraft carrier. Apart from that, the idea seems OK.
hippo, Apr 14 2014

       We just need to equip them with Sky Captain jets, that's all. Problem solved. Hell, we'll get SHIELD's helicarrier* to schlep them around. It's been a submersible a time or two in the comics.   

       * I'm sorry for the caps but since I brought up the subject I need everyone in the room to hear this: I HAVE NOT YET WATCHED CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER AND WILL NOT UNTIL IT IS OUT ON BLU-RAY, SO DO NOT TELL ME ANYTHING ABOUT IT OR I WILL MAKE YOU VERY VERY SORRY.
Alterother, Apr 14 2014

       Well, it goes like this.....Captain America arghhh <succumbs to curate-tipped dart from alterother>   

       //The balance board is sensitive enough that if you talk, your body moves enough that you blow out the candle. I've played it, it's not as boring as it sounds   

       My, how those long winter nights must fly by...
not_morrison_rm, Apr 14 2014

       -- Rat pie, rat salad ... Ullo, there's a dead curate on the landing.   

       --- What denomination?   

       -- Who cares? It's only a curate.   

       --- Right... um ... Some rat salad, then, please. ---
skoomphemph, Apr 14 2014

       Submerging the cable arrest systems on an air-craft carrier would probably not be wise. Of course, one could always just go the way of Harriers.   

       Blimps. forget the flight deck and lift the planes with temporary blimps.
RayfordSteele, Apr 14 2014

       So what if we explore the other end of the runway length vs. aircraft carrier operating speed window... Can we get a boat just big enough to carry one jet up to takeoff/landing speed? Think of it like a float plane that leaves it's floats on the water.
scad mientist, Apr 14 2014

       The Ekranoplane Navy!   

       I'll leave the details to your imaginations.
skoomphemph, Apr 14 2014

       //a float plane that leaves its floats on the water// Excellent idea, apart from the rogue apostrophe. How would landing work though? If the plane had a long springy arrestor hook that suck out in front, that could snag on a big elastic loop on the floats, so as the plane approached the stationary floats to land, the hook would grab the elastic and both slow down the plane and yank the floats up to speed just in time for touchdown.
pocmloc, Apr 14 2014

I can't seem to find any stats on the fastest unassisted rate of ascending for a buoyant object.
If the pilot remained pressurised within the aircraft then decompression issues are negated and there would be no G-force trauma. What kind of speed could be attained by simply releasing a very positively buoyant launcher from a great depth? Would this speed be enough to maintain flight once the aircraft were free of the surface and its carrier? Perhaps we could engineer folded wings to maintain the carriers' girlish figure even.

       [skoom] Indeed - an ekranoplane the size of an aircraft carrier would be pretty awe-inspiring
hippo, Apr 15 2014

FlyingToaster, Apr 15 2014

       I was trying to find out more about the Soviet's looking into launching an escort fighter from their vertical ICBM launch tubes but couldn't. Anybody got anything more on that?
doctorremulac3, Apr 15 2014

       [2fries], whatever the rate is, the decelleration of a descending object would be equal and opposite shirley? So the aircraft could finish the mission by diving head first into the ocean where the (precision guided/positioned) submarine stood at an appropriate depth with the tube doors open (perhaps the open doors forming a convenient funnel shape).
pocmloc, Apr 16 2014

       Tricky, then you'd need a submersible aircraft.   

       I was wondering if a single hydro-foil deck could match speeds with a landing plane and then submerge once secure and buttoned up.   

       For launching, if the nose cone of the carrier were segmented and held closed by the water pressure around it then breaking free of the surface would cause the entire forward third of the carrier to violently open, flower-like, and the resulting drag would make it fall away from the launched aircraft very quickly.
Since the tail end of the carrier would be heavier than the nose to keep it vertical during ascent, it will fall back to the sea butt-first ensuring that the nose cone closes properly and the carrier can be reused for multiple launches.


       "Phineas, I know what we're going to do today..."   

       In an altitude excursion, maybe drag matters less than in level flight. I'm thinking if you fling a plane upwards, it's going to have some upward momentum, regardless of how badly the plane is handling, you're going to keep on going up until you've traded in all the kinetic energy you put into going upward. And if you manage vertical ascent, obviously the lateral component stays constantly zero.   

       So do a variant of the airshow vertical ascent trying to reach just above the stalling speed of the big cloth bat wing you've got stored in your wing, and then break out, and loop gently down to some "short field".   

       Be careful not to have enemy aircraft about when performing this manoevre.
skoomphemph, Apr 16 2014

       I know that Bucky Barnes is the Winter Soldier. I've read many of the comics. I just haven't watched the movie, and we don't go to theaters because I'm half-deaf and can't hear the dialog and the cheap worn-out seats inflame my sciatica, so I don't see movies until they come out on home video.   

       So don't spoil them for me.
Alterother, Apr 16 2014

       // I was trying to find out more about the Soviet's looking into launching an escort fighter from their vertical ICBM launch tubes but couldn't. Anybody got anything more on that? //   

       I said "I think." Maybe I had it confused with something else, but I'm pretty sure I saw it in one of those shoestring- production documentaries they show at 3am on the Hitler Channel; 'Wierd Weapons of the Cold War' or some such. There were so many honest-to-goodness bizarre, impossible prototype vehicles and weapons developed during and after WWII that it's nearly impossible to sort the real ones from the spoofs, hoaxes, and rumors.   

       Example: the Great Panjandrum.
Alterother, Apr 16 2014

       Nothing wrong with the idea. I don't think the Goblin was that much wider than an ICBM launch tube. Put the thing in a water proof sabot style casing to get it out of the water, solid boosters get it up to altitude, peel away the casing, unfold the wings and go at it. Even if they had to modify one tube to double the width or something it wouldn't be that hard to do.   

       When the pilot shoots down any maritime patrol planes in the area, the pilot bails out and hopes the sub remembers to pick him up.   

       Their target would be pretty easy since maritime patrol aircraft are built for long range not speed and defensive capability. They also don't have escort fighters in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean so it wouldn't need dogfighting capability, just a couple of of sidewinders and maybe an onboard cannon to make sure you'd get the target.   

       I guess it was decides that stealth was a good enough defense to make these too much trouble to design and not worth the payoff.
doctorremulac3, Apr 16 2014


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