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Submersible aircraft carierrs

  1. Sep 2, 2004 #1
    I would say that combat surface ships not to mention aircraft carriers, are obsolete(sitting ducks) when it comes to "real" war for example with china or iran.During Falklands war exocet rockets wrecked havock among british ships.
    Would not be prudent then, to develop new class of submersible troop carriers ,frigates or even VSTOL aircraft carierrs?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2004 #2
    Sounds like a quick way to go bankrupt!
  4. Sep 2, 2004 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    We do have small, submersible, stealth attack boats, but an aircraft carrier would be another matter. Besides, the latest generation of Phalanx addresses threats like the exocet.

    Phalanx Close-In Weapons System
    http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/weapons/wep-phal.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  5. Sep 3, 2004 #4


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    Dear Sir,

    the aircraft carrier is far from obsolete...it is a vital mode of maintaining a forward base, safe from the vagaries of regional poiltics.

    Submersible Carriers are virtually impossible, and really, I can't see the point of that. Does the aircraft have to swim through water first (like a ballistic/cruise missile) or does the boat have to surface to prepare for launch ? This only seems to make matters cumbersome, and a hundredfold more expensive.

    You're not a "sitting duck" if you have missile defense, like a line of supporting Aegis Destroyers
    (for AAW), which any carrier fleet is accompanied by. You realize that the Carriers don't have to get within missile range of the enemy. So you only really need defense from AGMs like the Maverick and the Harpoon.

    The same type of protection is afforded to amphibious groups as well - with cruisers and destroyers for AAW and submarines and frigates for ASW. And typically, LHAs carry Harriers, so they (as well as carriers) do have VSTOL capability.

    But by VSTOL Carriers, I imagine you are expecting the Carrier itself to take off !!! :eek: This is pure fiction, my boy ! No, I should say 'fantasy'.

    And as far as submersible frigates go, yes the US Navy does have those - they're called submarines ! Sorry for the patronizing tone, but I really don't see any practical advantages to what seem to me like very futuristic (at best) ideas.

    The falklands was a bit of a special case, owing to the fact that Britain was securing territory which was well within missile (Exocet) range of the Argentinian mainland. But really, the Exocets hit only a couple of ships, though these were the only ships sunk. The other big problem the Brits had (and still have) is the heavy dependence on the Sea Harriers, which don't handle anything like your decent multi-role fighter. Besides, 20 years ago, the Royal Navy did not have a reasonable equivalent of the Hawkeye or the Prowler, and really, there was very primitive electronic defense.

    The US Navy has F-14s, and F-18s and may soon have a naval version of the Raptor (F-22). These are nearly unmatched in air superiority. The Sukhois (SU-27 and later) are good, and China has a few squadrons of these, but missile range and jamming capability is really a lot more important than speed or range. And this is really where the US has superiority.

    As far as hide-and-seek goes, the US Navy is testing the stealth ship, Sea Shadow (built by Skunkworks, I think) with limited force capability, but sopposedly is still in an experimental stage. Then there are the recently built LCS - specifically for stealthily transporting troops and armor - and the Semi-stealth Destroyer, Zumwalt.
  6. Sep 3, 2004 #5
    All right, maybe submersible aircraft carrier is way too bizzare, then how about dirigible ala Zeppelin platform for combat aircrafts. :approve:
  7. Sep 3, 2004 #6


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    I don't see how a gigantic dirigible is not a "sitting duck". But anyways, let's do some basic calculations to establish feasibility.

    Lets say you want to lift a payload of 10,000 tons. This is actually a little bit of an underestime, but it will give us an order of magnitude guess. (Most of the recent CVNs have payloads of about 20,000 tons, and this does not include the weight of permanent equipment, like propulsion systems, services, hangars, etc.)

    10,000 tons ~ 20 mill lbs

    From Helium, you get a buoyant force of about 0.1 lb/cu.ft., so 1 lb requires about 10 cu.ft.

    So, you need about 200 mill cu. ft of He !! If you filled that Helium into your typical zeppelin shaped dirigible, it would be about 1500 ft long !! That's a big zeppelin, about 50 times bigger than some of the biggest zeppelins. But it sure gives you more than enough length for a runway (CNV-77s are about 1000 ft long) possibly overcoming stall-speed problems, and avoiding the need for a headwind during launch. With a smaller payload, you could build a more conventional sized dirigible (500-700 ft long), but lose the help from the extra length.

    I'm not an aero-expert, so someone else should comment on the airworthiness of a 200 mill cu. ft dirigible. As far as feasibility goes, it may not be completely in the realm of fantasy (let the experts decide) but I would think it'd be extremely clumsy. And the balance would be extremely tricky - I'd imagine you'll need compressed air ballast and a segmented hull (kinda like a submarine) to maintain balance - especially during launch. You'll probably need feedback controlled dynamic ballast adjustment capability during missions - but maybe not.

    Tactically, I don't see any advantage to a dirigible carrier. Do you ?

    <if I've made any gross calculation error, please forgive me >
  8. Sep 3, 2004 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Been there, done that.

    http://www.generalaviationnews.com/editorial/articledetail.lasso?-token.key=5696&-token.src=column&-nothing [Broken]

    http://www.generalaviationnews.com/editorial/images/artreport23.jpg [Broken]

    Imagine about 50 F-22s hanging from the bottom of a blimp on hooks! I can see it!!! :biggrin:
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  9. Sep 3, 2004 #8
    Actually, they HAD made submarine aircraft carriers in world war II. The Japanese has made a few of these, each carried 3 planes. They were in a plan to attack the panama canal, but were called back for kamakaze missions at okinawa.
  10. Sep 3, 2004 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    The only trouble was, every time they submerged, the planes floated away.
  11. Sep 3, 2004 #10


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    :rofl: :rofl:

    Now, seriously....did the submersibles surface just to provide a landing/take-off/refuelling/repair/rest platform ?

    In other words, they were now-you-see-it-now-you-don't bases ?

    Anyway, I'm impressed at the skill of the WWII aviators that landed on flat top subs. Not your run-of-the-mill okay three naval aviators, I'd imagine.
  12. Sep 4, 2004 #11


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    Greetings !

    Actually I think it's a great idea and I'm almost certain
    it will be implemented in the next few decades. However,
    with an adaptation for the 21st century - it will carry small
    but heavily armed unmanned aircraft.

    It becomes more and more abvious now that the future is in
    unmanned aircraft and better missiles. While conventional airplanes
    and aircraft carriers do make a BIG statement and maintain regional
    supperiority, a smaller, cheaper and much less detectable stealth ship
    and submarine fleet with a load of unmanned fighters and guided missiles
    of all range and sizes can be much more effective in actual engagements.

    I should mention that electromagnetic cannons curently planned
    to be used on future stealth warships will also make a big difference
    due to energy, range and amount.

    As for modern aircraft carriers, as was mentioned here, they're not
    at all "sitting ducks" as was mentioned here. Also, I think that in some
    near future they'll probably be further armed with laser cannons
    which will make them even less vulnerable.

    Peace and long life.
  13. Sep 4, 2004 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    Good points drag. Thinking about it that way, the submarine launched aircraft is a near certainty; given that its justified. In a way we already have them in the form of cruise missles.
  14. Sep 4, 2004 #13


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    They're not totally helpless. I read an article about 'stealth' aircraft carriers nearly twenty years ago. More a method of operation than true 'stealth' technology.

    You can disguise engine sounds to confuse sonar to a certain extent.
    The planes can stay below radar detection until they're well away from the aircraft carrier.
    You can track weather to hide under the clouds, reducing your chances of being spotted by aircraft or visual reconnaisance satellites.
    You can even keep track of the enemy's reconnaisance satellites so you know which areas you need to avoid at what times and when to duck under clouds.

    Obviously, not too effective long term, since an aircraft carrier and its supporting ships are pretty hard to hide - but you can disappear for a few hours. In the article I read, the record during exercises was around 36 hours - far above average, though.
  15. Sep 4, 2004 #14
    No wonder they lost the war :grumpy:
  16. Oct 30, 2004 #15
    "Submersible aircraft carierrs"


    The M2 - The only submersible aircraft carrier
    Print | Email
    8 March 2002
    By Mark Baker


    [PLAIN]http://aichi-m6a.wikiverse.org/ [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  17. Oct 31, 2004 #16
    Maybe I was too criticall of aircraft carriers importance, but cost of maintaining it and imagine how many ships and subs are needed to defend just one aircraft carrier makes me think idea about submersible A.C as not that crazy at all.
    In case of ordinary A.C. dozens of otherwise fully capable offensive ships just sit there around A.C and defend it, while they could be used for offence or cost of constructing them could be used somewhere else.
    Imagine submersible A.C. with 12-15 vertical take off jets, highly stealthy for the most of the time underwater, maybe with only 2 escort subs it could wreck havock on enemy war ships etc.
    On the other hand having big, visible, itimmitading to the potential enemy force is always good(Hannibal's elephants).
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2004
  18. Nov 20, 2004 #17


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    I don't think that there are "dozens of otherwise fully capable offensive ships just sitting there around A.C and defending it." There are a few destroyers and perhaps cruisers. Cruisers and destroyers can lauch cruise missiles while defending the carriers.

    Also, there are attack submarines patrolling in support.

    Remember that in the modern miliatary with AWACs type surveillance, one can get a 3D image of the field - for 10's of miles around a carrier.

    The AC's are not exactly sitting ducks - as long as they have long distance surveillance support.

    Regarding the range of the Exocet, the solid propellant motor gives Exocet a range of about 50 km, but when released from 10,000 m (32,800 ft) the range achieved was reported to be 70 km. (source - http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/row/exocet.htm )
  19. Nov 22, 2004 #18
    Exocet missile was real eye opener for British, they almost lost the war, fortunatelly for them Argentinian Air Forcess forces run out of Exocet's missiles.

    Attached Files:

  20. Nov 22, 2004 #19


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    There used to be dozens of ships protecting (and servicing) every carrier, but not any more - today's Aegis Cruiser has better defensive capabilities than a dozen from 1975. A small handful of destroyers, cruisers, and subs is all that is used today.
  21. Aug 12, 2006 #20
    have you people heard of Ace Combat 5. there are two submersibe carriers in the game and they are somewhat reasonable in design. i cant find any pictures so you have to play the game to see them.
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