Friday, August 24, 2007

Kill the sub? Follow the funky.

Well, if you know to follow their toy, the submarine has to be near where it re-enters the water ..... if you have good eyes. Anyway, it looks cool and might be a fun toy with a use now and then. Chap, Bubblehead - thoughts? Launch and recovery has to have some significant acoustic artifacts that go with it. Heck - even AW1 could find it with a AQA-7......

Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works, famed for the U-2 and Blackbird spy planes that flew higher than anything else in the world in their day, is trying for a different altitude record: an airplane that starts and ends its mission 150 feet underwater.

The Cormorant, a stealthy, jet-powered, autonomous aircraft that could be outfitted with either short-range weapons or surveillance equipment, is designed to launch out of the Trident missile tubes in some of the U.S. Navy's gigantic Cold War-era Ohio-class submarines. These formerly nuke-toting subs have become less useful in a military climate evolved to favor surgical strikes over nuclear stalemates, but the Cormorant could use their now-vacant tubes to provide another unmanned option for spying on or destroying targets near the coast.

This is no easy task. The tubes are as long as a semi trailer but about seven feet wide-not exactly airplane-shaped. The Cormorant has to be strong enough to withstand the pressure 150 feet underwater-enough to cave in hatches on a normal aircraft-but light enough to fly. Another challenge: Subs survive by stealth, and an airplane flying back to the boat could give its position away.

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