DARPA flexing it’s cool muscles again with flying sub

by James

According to the Giz, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking for proposals to build a submersible aircraft which can fly up to 1000 nautical miles, cruise 200 nm on the surface, and 24 nm under water. It also needs to have the ability to be “submersible ready” as it loiters in a condition known as sea-state five, in theater for up to three days. In addition, it would have to be capable of carrying a payload of up to 2000 pounds and up to a crew of 8. It could be used for rescue operations, such as this automatic model, as well as ferrying personnel and materiel into sensitive areas. Then there’s the covert possibilities.

The challenges are formidable. The Flying Sub (because face it, that’s what we’re all thinking) has to be light enough and aerodynamic enough to get airborne, but still have the ability to be water tight while underwater. That means more weight for ballast tanks, airlocks, etc.

This isn’t the first time that someone has flirted with this idea. In fact, the idea was first tried by the Japanese in World War II when they created a gigantic submarine with a waterproof hangar which held up to three specially designed float plane fighter bombers. The idea was to use it to bomb the Panama Canal and prolong the war. And the Navy was working in the 50s on jet fighter which could land in the water. And there’s even talk that the Navy’s F35 could be adapted to submarine life with its vertical take off and landing capability with the idea of having submersible aircraft carriers. But in this age where the threat is far more elusive, the idea of a multi-billion dollar project like this wouldn’t be too popular in Congress.

But still, in this age of carbon fiber and tinier and tinier electronics, if anyone can make this bad boy work, it could be an amazing advancement in technologies for covert operations. Not to mention the cool factor of life imitating art.

Now all we need is a “Seaview” class sub to transport it anywhere in the world and we’d be living in Irwin Allen’s world.

Hat Tip – The Giz

4 reviews or comments

Ian Kemmish Says: October 7, 2008 at 9:55 am

Any aircraft can travel 24 nanometres under water!

turn.self.off Says: October 7, 2008 at 10:05 am

hmm, that design reminds me of xcom: terror from the deep…

Latest gadget thumbnails » Coolest Gadgets Says: October 8, 2008 at 12:37 am

[…] DARPA flexing it’s cool muscles again with flying sub […]

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