Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Submarine Launched Aerial Delivery System: Are We Almost There Yet?

Camel cigarette once ran a real one-man helicopter ad (1958). A bit later, the Soviet Union attempted to deploy a foldable, one-man, spy helicopter (mock up pictured in the left photo) launchable from submarines via standard 533mm (21") torpedo tubes. Designed to carry a payload of 242 lbs (in addition to its pilot) for 75 miles at about 68 mph and at a top altitude of one mile, the Kamov Ka-56 was never flown due to lack of suitable rotary piston engine.

According to the winning concept produced for the American Helicopter Society by a team of students from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and Pennsylvania State University, the rotary piston engine problem is history. Read carefully: [The] design for an autonomous compact rotorcraft deployable from a submarine and intended to be used to transport special forces personnel.

Of course, who knows what DARPA's teams have been inventing? The 3 craft have a few things in common - low altitude (radar avoidance), low speed, short range and small engines. Back in May, 2006, we had speculated about an advanced SEAL delivery craft launched from submarines. The LTAC would carry more SEALs and payload, however. How large of a problem is it really for SSGNs to carry a missile tube or two of compressed helium, hmm. If you read it somewhere else, first, please enlighten us.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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