Navy Eyeing Nontraditional Missiles For Submarines


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January 10, 2006, 04:47 PM
Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
January 9, 2006

Navy Eyeing Nontraditional Missiles For Submarines

The U.S. Navy said Jan. 5 that it pulled off a trial, land-based test of a Sidewinder AIM-9X air-to-air missile for potential submarine use.

The long-range research goal is to field any existing Defense Department missile aboard submarines quickly and at low cost.

The November test - supported by Raytheon Missile Systems - involved detecting, tracking and destroying an unmanned helicopter, which was not visible to the missile at its launch.

The Sidewinder is a good choice for research and development of small missile payloads for guided-missile submarines (SSGNs) and attack submarines (SSNs), the Navy said. The results can be applied to other missile payloads and different platforms such as the Littoral Combat Ship.

The next step is to analyze the vertical-launch thrust characteristics of gas production and temperature for encapsulation of the missile for an underwater test, according to the Navy.

"The 'encapsulation' technique will be the forerunner for deploying air breathing payloads like unmanned aerial vehicles from submarines in the future," said Capt. Mark Bock, program manager for the Navy's Undersea Defensive Systems Program Office.

The most mature encapsulation technology, the Stealthy Affordable Capsule System, will be used in the next phase of risk-reduction testing. This effort, led by the Northrop Grumman Corp., will try to perform a submerged launch of the AIM-9X from a submarine-like vertical launch system currently used for Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Navy officials have begun planning for in-water testing.

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Tom C.
January 10, 2006, 05:28 PM
It is about time. Subs have no defense against airborne ASW platforms.

Kharn
January 10, 2006, 06:11 PM
Well that sure beats the Soviet system, IIRC, that was just a MANPAD launcher attached to the periscope.

Kharn

PromptCritical
January 10, 2006, 06:39 PM
I was stationed on a Fast attack boat and I even had this idea. All submarines have a 3" tube designed for launching flares, signal buoys, countermeasures and other assorted devices. I thought it would be great to develop a small missile that could be launched from the tube.

Contrary to the depiction in The Hunt for Red October, these tubes are mouned on the port side of the ship aimed in an upward direction.

I imagined the look on the face of the ASW helo pilot chasing the sub as a small rocket leaps from the water. Bubye!

Obviously not as simple as it sounds. Launching rockets from under water is way more difficult and complicated than shooting them from planes. Plus the rocket would need to aquire the target extremely fast for any hope of destroying it.

A high explosive flak charge would probably do the trick too...

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