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A Submarine That Can Go 100 Knots

The fastest submarine in the US Navy can go only 25 to 30 knots. But the Electric Boat Corporation, the primary designer for US Navy submarines, is trying to design one that can reach up to 100 knots. It plans on testing a 1/4 scale model off the coast of Rhode Island next year:

The sub utilizes the phenomenon known as supercavitation. Supercavitation is the process wherein an object moves so fast through the water that it creates a gas bubble around itself, nearly eliminating drag. Unencumbered by the high drag of water, the object is free to speed along at much higher speeds than otherwise possible. Supercavitation has been known since the end of World War Two, and the Soviets succeeded in creating a torpedo that utilizes supercavitation for high-speed travel, but so far no one has succeeded in scaling the effect up to the size of a whole submarine.


Current supercavitating torpedoes (like those possessed by Russia and Iran) inject exhaust gas at the nose to help form and stabilize the gas bubbles they travel in. Such a mechanism on a 100 foot sub would be another thing entirely, and I am left to wonder where that gas would come from if the speeds were to be sustained... water vapor? would the friction of the nose be enough to sustain the gas bubble reliably? maybe water vaporized by on-board heat?
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It's a good thing we're developing this, because there a lot of other countries' submarines out there that we need to outrun. Also there is a large naval threat facing the US today, and modern wars cannot be effectively fought without a naval component. Just think of how ineffective the invasion of Iraq would have been had we been unable to utilize our submarine technology.
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this makes me wonder if there is a problem with subs running into whales or giant squid... how fast is 30 knots anyway?? sounds made up. i can run 15 kerplonks an hour
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might be possible by boiling the water in front with sound waves, microwaves, a nano engineered surface with small enough pits to cause cavitation. Hmmmm.
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30 knots is about 35 mph so 100 knots is a little over 115 mph. That's crazy fast underwater. I'm sure whale strikes would be a problem They already occur with commercial vessels going a whole lot slower than that.
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I'd immagine they'd use someting like an electromagnetic water gasification layer on the outer hull. That way the effect could start at low speeds. The higher the speed, the more they would use a passive system like a big cone on a pole on the nose of the ship that has the same effect.

With such speeds a vessel could even make scary jumps high above the surface. That would open a whole new dimension in sub-sailing.
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New term for a submarine using noisy supercavitation to go fast: TORPEDO/ROCKET TARGET.

Submarines survive by being a quiet hole in the water, not by announcing "I'm right here... shoot me...shoot me!!!!"
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Supercavitation is water vapor created in a low pressure environment (boiling point is directly proportional to pressure). Cavitation can cause major damage to propellers and is used by trigger shrimp to damage the outer shell of crabs. In these instances, cavitation is damaging because the instant the cavity collapses, water slams against the surface near the object creating the cavitation. Propellors can cavitate when they spin too fast. A ship that can cavitate must be capable of creating an area of low pressure on the nose, such as a wing. I assume supercavitation means that the vapor cavity is sustained for a long period of time.
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agree with TimO. this is dumb.

american nuclear subs have been "schooled" of late in war games by quieter diesel-electric subs from foreign nations.

if a supercavitating sub can travel this fast, a supercavitating torpedo is going to be able to go faster and be launched from a super quiet and relatively cheap electric boat.

whizbang for sure, but militarily useless.
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I've come to understand that some subs already can move just below the boundry of supercavitation. So if that'd be true, supercavitation becomes something like the soundbarrier with airplanes. Stay below the barrier and a sub can stay silent. Go into supercav and the craft comes at its target superspeedy and with an unmistakable loud growl for most likely a short endburst to jump its prey. But with such speeds there's no evasive action possible, so at that point all the noise won't matter anymore.
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