July 07, 2010 11:12
The U.S. Defense Department is seeking to build a flying submarine, the New Scientist reported Monday. Since 2008, the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been reviewing designs for the flying submarine submitted by contractors. It "can fly low over the sea until it nears its target... and transform itself into a submarine that will cruise under water to within striking distance, all without alerting defences," according to the magazine.
The craft then fires a torpedo at its target and flies back to base. The advantages are its rapid deployment capability and stealth characteristics.
Several defense contractors have submitted designs to DARPA, and when a final blueprint is selected the Pentagon is expected to provide research funding within a year. Graham Hawkes, an engineer and submarine designer based in San Francisco who submitted a blueprint, said it is possible to develop this type of submarine, since airplanes and subs have similar hydromechanic characteristics and there are carbon fibers that are light yet durable enough to withstand high pressures.
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