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Submarines as Aircraft Carriers?

The details are not clear but what is for sure is that the US Navy is planning to equip their ageing nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet with aerial drones in the missile launch tubes. Since the end of the Cold War in the 80's, the nuclear threat is much diminished and nuclear ballistic missile submarines have lost much of their value. As a result, the US Navy is now trying to find new ways to utilize these underwater warships besides scraping them.

In September of 2009, the US Navy revealed quite a large extent of this program in an interview with Rear Admiral Mark Kenny. The Admiral stated that already 4 of the Cold War-era missile boats have been stripped of its nuclear missiles to make room for conventional weapons, SEAL deployment chambers, and aerial/aquatic drones. Among these that the Admiral mentioned are: a torpedo-sized drone used for eavesdropping, a 45 pound possibly armed aerial drone, and a 15 pound aerial reconnaissance drone that relays video and radio info back to the submarine.

Not much else has been released by the US Navy but it is very possible that the submarines are now a viable platform to launch these drones. This has much implications for the future of naval warfare. Maybe submarines will become the new aircraft carriers, being able to submerge thus giving more protection and stealth. This idea is not very far-fetched as the Japanese have experimented with underwater aircraft launching with their I-14 submarine during WWII.

1 comment:

Math and Games said...

Oh, it interest me. Is this an old artist concept of what it could look like? I'm glad I know this new information that I never seen before.

--Janet--"Math for 5th Graders"