America’s Subs May Soon Be On (Or In) the Bubble

It’s no secret that any country that has a large and powerful navy better be able to protect those ships at all cost. One of the biggest threats to navy ships is enemy submarines. There is a reason why they have been termed to be “silent but deadly” – because they can sneak up on a large combat ship undetected and put it quickly on the bottom of the ocean. If a group of Penn State University researchers have their way, these military submarines may soon be termed “silent but deadly and fast.”

The American Navy’s guided missile and ballistic missile submarines are some of the most feared pieces of combat fighting equipment on the planet. Their nuclear powered engines enable them to move almost anywhere undetected and, when they get there, they can unleash a deadly array of powerful missiles against any target in range. Despite all the advanced technology that goes into their design, they have one major drawback and that is that they are not very fast.

Today’s fastest submarines are thought to be able to only reach a high speed of around 40 knots. Even with highly advanced nuclear propulsion systems, it’s the best that these stealthy underwater vessels can do. Unfortunately, the very thing that makes them so deadly by hiding them (water) is also behind the reason that they are so slow. No matter how you look at it, a big vessel like a submarine moving through water creates a lot of drag and friction which greatly impedes its ability to go fast.

120630-N-ZZ999-002So, how does the group of Penn State researchers plan on overcoming this simple law of physics? The answer is to encase the submarine in a layer of gas bubbles to cut down on the drag and friction that subs normally create as they travel through the water.

The theory behind this gas bubble encasement is what is known as supercavitation. It happens when you can fully encapsulate a moving object that is going through water with a gas to cut down substantially on the drag and resistance it faces so it can go faster. Submarines that use this technology are predicted to be able to travel as fast as 200 knots. That is five times faster than what any sub can currently do now. With speeds like that, a sub can deploy much more quickly and get into position to fire.

There are some drawbacks to using supercavitation too. Producing the bubbles will greatly reduce a submarine’s stealth ability and make them easier to detect because producing the bubbles will make them noisy. Those who support developing this technology say that supercavitation can be used to get the sub to a conflict zone quickly and then the sub can switch back over to conventional propulsion systems to regain their stealth ability again.

If the Penn State research team can make this technology actually work for submarines, then it would make American submarine power even more deadly than it already is.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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2 thoughts on “America’s Subs May Soon Be On (Or In) the Bubble

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