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naval micro surface swarm attack

little rc boats with little hull piercing thermo bombs on them
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

at only 4.5 pounds each and a max speed of 50 miles and hour and massive ability to turn on a dime, these little manueverable bad boys could be launched by the hundred. and at last a few will hit the hull of any massive boat.

the mini hull piercing or hull denting bombs, will not necessarily destroy the ship or sink it, but just significantly decrease the hull speed because of increased turbulence and drag , at the very least.

that's a very cheap option for attack a massive destroyer type ship.

of course, the little boats, are so damn small ( less than 3.5 feet long , 10 inches across ,and 6 inches high ) that simply coating them in blue can easily disguise them as fish, or just make them more stealthy.

did i mention they use batteries so they are nearly silent????

they can be deployed by a helicopter, submarine, boat, plane, dockworker, or even by mounting them on scuba divers that merely swim within a kilometer of the main ship at dock and release them.

it would be pretty hard to stop a small swarm of these things from achieving their mission.

link below

teslaberry, Mar 31 2014

traxxis http://traxxas.com/.../5707Lspartan-specs
[teslaberry, Mar 31 2014]

HMS Penelope http://en.wikipedia...nelope_(97)#Force_K
Tough .. [8th of 7, Apr 04 2014]

Achmed the dead terrorist http://www.google.c...SeC8E7NmkQv7iAASw8g
Almost funny ... [8th of 7, Apr 06 2014]

Four Lions http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1341167/
a rather better effort, by most accounts [pertinax, Apr 07 2014]


       I generally don't approve of cluster bombs due to the late bloomers doing collateral damage on innocents. I get in that water too you know.
normzone, Mar 31 2014

       So, smaller torpedos?
Voice, Mar 31 2014

       If the goal is to encumber a ship by producing drag, then how about fitting out all manner of floating trash with magnets and tar and letting them surreptitiously out of the back of your dump trucks in the dead of night, to bob over and glom onto boats /destroyers / bad boy harpoon jetskis / etc/etc.   

       They might glom onto each other as well, the resulting accretion being mistaken by your ENEMIES for a sea monster and portent of doom.   

       These would be also be good defense against those scuba divers going about with things mounting them.
bungston, Mar 31 2014

       ...and by propelling themselves up sewerage outlet pipes penetrate to the very seat of government in Pyonyang...or Washington depending your ideology..
not_morrison_rm, Mar 31 2014

       Warships generally have very good systems for listening to sounds in the water, such as propellers of approaching vessels. And they have sonar, too. And some of those systems are connected via computer to rather large Gatling-gun systems, for shooting things like small stealthy boats....
Vernon, Mar 31 2014

       // it would be pretty hard to stop a small swarm of these things from achieving their mission. //   

       Actually, it would be really easy. A PHALANX would clear them up in no time, but they'd also make pretty good practice targets for Navy snipers. You know the guys who can shoot somebody right through the head at 1500 yards, even if the target is on a boat bobbing in the middle of the ocean, even if the shooter is on a different boat that's also bobbing in the middle of the ocean, even if the shooter and the target are separated by an opaque barrier?   

       Yeah, those guys.
Alterother, Mar 31 2014

       I have a sneaking suspicion that the warhead you could fit on one of these wouldn't even dent the armor of a modern destroyer.   

       The lightest torpedo in the current US inventory has a warhead that is 20 times the weight of this entire craft. While I can't find the thickness of the torpedo belt armor on an Arleigh-Burke, I'm pretty sure it'll stand up to what this can dish out.
MechE, Apr 01 2014

       Still, it could be a good product to sell to the Somali hijack franchises. Attack just one side of a defenceless ship with the idea of creating panic, and surrender. If they remain stubborn, attack some more, till the ship develops some "weather helm". I don't know how a pirate would fix a ship once it had started going in circles, but perhaps they could just use these cases as lessons to others who might dare resist. The capacity to sink ships would give them a much improved negotiation position.   

       Just to balance that out, you could sell the version that attacks skiffs to the navies trying to deal with the pirates. Sit somewhere comfy underwater near a harbour entrance, and as skiffs leave, fire off attack swarms of torpedos to go up and remora onto them. After a few hours, the charges detonate, the skiffs vanish without a trace, and occasionally a pirate goes down with a skiff. It won't take long for the remaining skiff operators to be too frightened to go to sea.   

       Horrible, but very effective. Hmm ... yes, somebody has probably suggested this already, and the answer has been no. Human beings aren't that bad after all.   

       And yes, this is a very deletable annotation - but even so, it just takes the ideas to a "next level".
skoomphemph, Apr 01 2014

       If there were bombs small enough to make this work you could do the same thing with an aerial drone. Just fly in over the waves. I am sure that possibility has occurred to the naval types.
bungston, Apr 01 2014

       [Bungston] It's called a cruise missile.
MechE, Apr 01 2014

       //systems for listening to sounds in the water, such as propellers of approaching vessels.//   

       So, the engineering challenge is to give them the same sort of sonar profile as, say, jellyfish. Think of the robot cookies in Despicable Me, but with jellyfish.   

       Or maybe barnacles are a better model: given that we haven't enough payload to blast through an armoured hull, we might be better off gnawing through it stealthily - I'm thinking of nanobots concealed under a crustacean shell.   

       What if they eschewed tactical effect altogether, and stealthily swarmed the sacrificial anodes, inducing unexpectedly early hull maintenance as form of economic warfare?
pertinax, Apr 01 2014

       The critical issue with weapons designed to attack anything harder than flesh is not the amount of explosive material you can deliver, it's the amount of explosives you can deliver to one point. I can toss hand grenades at the hull of a destroyer (or an oil tanker) all day long and they won't even make a dent.   

       I have the hull specs on the Arleigh-Burke in a book someplace, I'll try to find it. It may be at my parent's house.
Alterother, Apr 01 2014

       It's going to be 100's of mm. You'd be better off with a tiny, RADAR transparent, Ekranoplans full of nerve agent. But it's likely that's been thought of.
bs0u0155, Apr 01 2014

       [pertinax] has the right idea I think. For a microbot attack, you need to think about damage unconventionally. Microbots are inherently not concentrated, so you should focus on non-concentrated damage.   

       I esspecially like the idea of attacking the sacrificial annode. I wonder if rather than having to find the annode, you would be better off adding a bunch of deleterious cathodes. These might quickly consume the annode, followed by the prop, converting a distributed attack into a concentrated attack.
scad mientist, Apr 01 2014

       Actually, it turns out I was wrong. The Arleigh- Burkes have no appreciable armor (1/2 steel). The design went for "critical area" armoring inside the hull, so this approach might be able to knock (small) holes in the hull.   

       So it does come down to the relative difficulty of delivering these craft. After the Cole bombing, the US navy has a bit of a "shoot first" policy on small craft approaching it's ships. Ditto, helicopters and submarines (and it is very good at detecting the latter).   

       Midget electric submarines might make it through, but not carrying enough to make a huge difference, and the same goes for dock workers and divers.
MechE, Apr 01 2014

       Carborundum-something "chisel" that converts the screw into a lathe?   

       You'd have to attach your device early in the voyage, but from then on the ship would be working hard to immobilize itself.   

       The wise pirate would just salvage the screw for scrap if the attack was on a military vessel. Commercial vessels would have to be shadowed by a tug, so once disabled, you could try to tow it to your port before the next storm destroyed it.   

       Quite a lot of naval vessels that had their screws stolen would succumb to storms later. With that in mind there might be more profit in choosing vulnerable times to disable them. (If you track where it goes down in a storm, there might be a window of opportunity to grab a bit more valuable scrap from the wreck, itself, before the relevant navy finds their lost craft.)   

       The version of this for skiffs could even be operated at will. Once the prop has fallen off it doesn't much matter that the victim learns how this happened.
skoomphemph, Apr 01 2014

       If you could firmly attach to the prob... bore in with a galvanic-etching probe perhaps. Just having a nasty weight imbalance would limit the speed/range.
bs0u0155, Apr 01 2014

       the other major benefit of a swarm is simply distracting the ship , it's crew members and systems long enough to ensure the ship cannot take evasive or defensive action against a conventional or unconventional missile or other attack.
teslaberry, Apr 01 2014

       Good luck. Most of the CIWS (close-in weapons systems) are automated and the computers operating them are not easily confused or distracted, but all the same a warship has plenty of sailors and officers dedicated to the sole purpose of keeping it afloat and intact. Remember that you're not trying to sink a rowboat, you're going after a military vessel that bristles with weapons and countermeasures and is crewed by people whose job is to shoot and be shot at, so it's not like they won't see you coming. In the post-Cole attack Navy it's very difficult for anything bigger than a bullet to hit a warship. The PHALANX guns alone fire 6000 rounds per minute and are so accurate that when they run out of targets they start shredding the wreckage of what they've just demolished. They come to bear and identify targets faster than you can move. When they were first tested, they would target their own outgoing rounds if left with nothing else to shoot at. That's how good they are, and there are no humans involved in their operation.   

       So consider that your little boat bombs are up against the PHALANX guns, at least two of which protect every Navy ship from things like supersonic missiles. Now consider that the PHALANX is only the last line of automated defense, so if your little boats want to get close enough to be chewed up and spit out by a 30mm gatling gun, first they have to run a gauntlet of interceptor missiles, helicopter gunships, well-trained sharpshooters, scatterable munitions, surface and depth charges, and of course the ship's main armament, and even if the gats don't get them they're still easy pickings for a sailor leaning over the rail with a shotgun.
Alterother, Apr 02 2014

       I actually worked on the Phalanx CIWS years ago, and other radar too.   

       No, I think those would be useless against something like this.   

       1) How would these be detected well enough to hit? Does the CIWS have a radar that can detect slow-moving objects that are lower to the water than virtually any of the waves? Additionally, Sonar would not be able to get a precise fix on these- Passive sonar only gets directional fixes, but no distance information, and active sonar would probably not even detect something so small.   

       2) Even if they could be accurately detected, Phalanx typically shoots a lot of DU at each target, to achieve a fire hose effect, where it tracks the early inaccurate outgoing projectiles and makes adjustments to guide subsequent projectiles on target. 500 or 600 rounds per incoming target, magazine emptied quickly.   

       That being said, these very small objects would not have the power to sink or appreciably slow a ship, especially at the waterline. The bilge pumps could keep up with a few hundred small holes at the waterline. Repair crews would quickly patch them. All the holes would lead into non-vital sealed compartments anyway, like offices, storerooms, and sleeping quarters.
Kansan101, Apr 02 2014

       Awesome info, [Kans]! I know PHALANX is an air defense system, but it seems feasible that it could be altered to attack surface threats.   

       My grandfather did some troubleshooting on the current generation of CIWS, so I tend to feel a false-ish sense of propriety when the topic comes up. Nice to get the goods from somebody who actually knows stuff about it.
Alterother, Apr 02 2014

       How are these guided?   

       Because it occurs to me that the wake from a moving ship is probably enough to knock one away. Heck, the prairie-masker system bubbles probably are.
MechE, Apr 02 2014

       All of these problems are easily solvable. In fact given a fairly modest budget, considering the task, I could devise a way to use a swarm attack to sink a war ship.
Even given certain precautions not mentioned such as an EM pulse and lasers.

       I wouldn't need explosives, or chemicals to do it either.   

       Kansas101 for the win here. Truly an expert.   

       That said, I love creativity on the HB, but don't care for death machine ideas, unless totally silly. We just have enough death machines already thanks.
sophocles, Apr 03 2014

       The good thing about thinking about death machines is that maybe this helps you to remember what was wrong with the latest one someone who hates you produces next year.
skoomphemph, Apr 03 2014

       Lots and lots of GREAT STUFF! sticky expanding foam that releases upon contact with the ship, rudder, prop blades, etc.
RayfordSteele, Apr 03 2014

       //Human beings aren't that bad after all. //   

       Hi there, have you come far ? Welcome to Earth; widely known as "The Monkey House". What's the climate like on your planet ?   

       In the Med during the Second Lot (1942, so Americans might even know this as they'd actually condescended to join in by then) HMS Penelope was shot so full of holes that she was nicknamed "HMS Pepperpot".   

       She didn't sink.   

8th of 7, Apr 04 2014

       Now you see? If the silent version of the swarm had been available, they could've hidden on the seabed of Scapa Flow, and then done their little limpet trick on departure.   

       When the screw fell off, it wouldn't have gone to waste, and with a bit of planning, the storm that washed the stricken vessel ashore for salvage could've been planned to be one hitting the Spanish coast, thus saving all the inconvenience of operating in a war zone.   

       Same goes for those lovely Italian ships that went to waste by sinking in deep waters. And the Italians made their screws out of good nickel bronze and Monel metal, you know?
skoomphemph, Apr 04 2014

       //Scapa Flow...the Spanish coast   

       It is rather a long way from Scapa Flow to Spain...
not_morrison_rm, Apr 05 2014

       But it might take quite a long time to cut off a cruiser's screw, and one of the many ways of travelling from Scapa Flow to the Med goes past Iberia.   

       I must admit that a lot of this is down to chance. If the ship had taken the North American route (a devious thing to do in a time of war) the wreck may have ended up on the coast of Chicago or some country like that.   

       But then America was neutral for most of the War, wasn't it?
skoomphemph, Apr 05 2014

       If by "most" you mean "more than half, unless you count selling weapons and charging interest on loans so that other people can do your fighting for you", then averaged over the two World Wars, yes. The US was engaged for 49.1% of the duration.
8th of 7, Apr 05 2014

       The only people who've contributed their fair share to all the previous world wars are the Germans, really. They should be allowed to sit on the bench as reserves in the next one.
skoomphemph, Apr 05 2014

       Agreed. They can do something with oranges and bottles of water.   

       Now, the Swiss on the other hand...   

       Just wondering if it's possible to fuse this idea with the floating coffin notion in highrise tombs, although getting posthumous VC's for suicide missions when the person was already dead might cause a bit of a ruckus.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 05 2014

       Yes, the Swiss really have let the side down, haven't they? It's true that they banked the Nazi slush funds after the last one, but that's really a supporter role, and doesn't count. They need to run onto the next field of battle in person if they want to stay in the game.   

       I propose that the sides involved in the start of WW3 commence by sharing the Swiss among them, and send those out ahead for the opening battles.   

       Yes, the floating coffins could perhaps be converted by a future generation into a maritime zombie apocalypse. For now, a floating cemetery would make quite an unnerving and tough swarm. The dead who so generously did not refuse their last resting places for this noble deed would definitely merit a proportional share of the next bunch of VCs.
skoomphemph, Apr 05 2014

       //only people who've contributed their fair share to all the previous world wars are the Germans//   

       I think the Poles would argue with that.
MechE, Apr 05 2014

       Oh they always do that. But memory is such a short and fickle thing. They forget that they were Russians before the first one. By rights, this place Europe calls "Poland" (apart from those Germans who still call it East Prussia, Silesia, and the stuff in between) is rightfully Russian property.
skoomphemph, Apr 05 2014

       // Yes, the Swiss really have let the side down haven't they? //   

       It's indisputable that their Navy has never been noticeably involved in any UN projects, which bespeaks a lack of moral fibre …
8th of 7, Apr 05 2014

       sp: and send those out for bottle-nosed dolphins   

       I suppose the best way would be to disguise the devices as mermaids, deck hands too busy going "phwoah, look at the flukes on that one" to be manning weapons etc
not_morrison_rm, Apr 06 2014

       Ah, now that opens up a whole new set of deceptions. While the swarm (or pod, perhaps) is surreptitiously deploying down below as a fleet of dolphins, the suicide Playboy luxury yacht could be running distractions above.   

       Naked suicide bombers would be almost as stylish as those who demonstrate to entire classes how to trigger the device by actually triggering it. (Apparently recently a bomber trainer went a bit too far, and blew up the class, thereby unintentionally saving more innocent lives in one moment than the average fireman does in many years of dangerous work.)   

       Even if the seamen eventually fired on the Playboy yacht, many would decide to change jobs because of the trauma, so the psychological warfare aspect would offer some compensation.
skoomphemph, Apr 06 2014

       I laughed so loudly when I read about that class of suicide bombers getting prematurely martyred that the Wedding Glasses rattled on their display shelf.
Alterother, Apr 06 2014

       The networks are missing out on the comedy of the moment. Soon either we'll all be living in places that afford some shelter from radiation, or the fashion for killing other people with flying pieces of your own meat will end. The opportune moment will pass.   

       Imagine a weekly story that involves a lot of normal, sane Muslims, just going about their daily business, but with some bumbling idiot bombers in their midst who are being manipulated by the Grytpype Thynnes of our times.   

       Make just enough mention of the homicidal aspect of the idiots to make their ultimate demise funny (actually the demise of great and noble knights at the ... hands ... of rabbits is funny, so no need to overdo that.)   

       The evil meatbomb masters need to be done in an over-the-top enough way for the show not to degenerate into (éxcessive) propaganda; and the only reason to make the ones who go boom every week a bit dim (apart from the fact that apparently this is quite a desireable trait in real bombers) is that the simply deranged ones are too boring for comedy. That aspect probably also needs to be overtly exaggerated.   

       Yes, I suppose even with all the precautions there might still be a bit of hate in the laughter that follows the inevitable deading of this week's bomber/s by some rotten swine, but we could just decide to enjoy that. Hate is fun in moderate quantities. Let's just acknowledge that, and enjoy it.   

       The New Goon Show? That offers an escape from the weekly challenge of finding the funny side of suicide bombers.   

       Winston watched a really funny movie of this kind once...
skoomphemph, Apr 06 2014

       As I read this I am already distilling it to its essence--the funny side of suicide bombers--and it's giving me the kind of ideas that are usually published in mid-level literary journals 3-9 months from when I can finally be arsed to sit down and write the damn story...   

       Uncredited credit will go to you, [skoomph].
Alterother, Apr 06 2014

       Speaking of being arsed to do things, I found the book with all the naval specs. The Arleigh-Burkes had a hull thickness of little more than 1/2 inch at the waterline. Apparently the designers were counting on compartmentalization and maneuverability to save the ship from waterborne attacks.   

       The modern AEGIS destroyers, which are more manueverable and have a more effective watertight compartment configuration, have more than 2" of steel at the waterline. Obviously lessons were learned...
Alterother, Apr 06 2014

       // the funny side of suicide bombers //   

8th of 7, Apr 06 2014

       No body called my bluff.
I... I'm deeply wounded.

       You would need some kind of chemicals to pull it off, be they corrosive, explosive, or adhesive, unless your plan involves unarmed snorkel divers doing something bizarre with hand tools. Consider your bluff called.
Alterother, Apr 06 2014

       Ah, Ahmed... I suppose he's about as much of a laugh as we're ever going to get out of people who take out strategic targets like the sinister people who went to work this morning, and deadly mothers off to visit their kids on the weekend. He would be a very hard act to follow - although with actors one could put together much more of an ordinary day-to-day background than one gets with a dead guy. The sitcom format might be complementary.   

       If there was to be any uncredited credit, I'm delighted to have received this when it eventually happens. It actually belongs to someone else, but I'll just appropriate it without conscience.   

       And whooahoohoohoohoowhaaar!! Thicker hulls are just that much more salvage to some. No navy has ever devised a defence against the carborundum thingy that eats deeper into the screw with each rotation.
skoomphemph, Apr 06 2014

       That's because it probably hasn't been tried, probably because it doesn't work. Modern ships have thousands of sensors that look out for any imbalances or impairment to the ships function, but even without sensors it would only take a few dozen revolution before the screw began to make a hideous racket and they stopped to see what was wrong with it.
Alterother, Apr 06 2014

       Well I suppose that 'everything' is chemicals when you get right down to it, but I wasn't bluffing.
I just meant I can think of a way to sink a ship using autonomous drones without chemical attack or explosives, just physics.

       There would be no radiation, no adhesives, the drones would give off no heat signature, there would be no electronic footprint... and the swarm would not even need to come within attack range of the ship itself.   

       2fries does your method involve using drones to weigh the ship down, pump water onto the ship, create a massive air cavity, or otherwise need just about the ship's weight in drones?
Voice, Apr 07 2014

       What I usually say.   

       //'everything' is chemicals when you get right down to it   

       Apart from gravity, Bose-Einstein condensate, or cheese.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 07 2014

       ...and taxes.   

       It shouldn't take the ships worth of drones to do the job but it would take an awful lot of the little suckers that's for sure. I can't do the math, I just see it working in my head. The boat already wants to sink. It just needs help to do so.   

       The drones don't need to come anywhere within shooting range of the ship.   

       So they're either tiny dredges that build a sand bar in the ship's path and then bugger off when it comes steaming along or they're wicked fast little suckers that create a supercavitation maelstrom.
Alterother, Apr 07 2014

       Something like that.   

       Hey here's a question; if an idea can not be found on any existing public data base, and it is denied a provisional patent does that mean that a patent already exists but is classified?   

       Maybe. I do know that records of the existence of classified patents are available. I know this because I went searching for several patents that my Grandad was awarded but it turns out a number of them are still cruising around the world doing secret radar stuff. My family still gets a little money for them, because my Grandad was a really shrewd guy who leased his tech instead of selling it, but we aren't allowed to know what they are. Except for Grandmother, who has a higher security clearance than the Deputy SecDef.
Alterother, Apr 07 2014


       Yeah, well, she really honors that secrecy oath she signed. No fun stories whatsoever.
Alterother, Apr 07 2014

       There's something we have in common then... except for the signed oath part.
My grandfather on my mothers' side was an inventor. Not so shrewd though. His inventions were all scooped up by other men. He made the worlds first automatic rail greasing mechanism, built the train tracks in his yard and everything but was ripped off by the rail company he worked for. He used to walk fourteen miles to work and back every day with a bullet lodged in one leg.

       Nails he was.   


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