Lockheed Martin‚Äôs Skunk Works, famed for the U-2 and Blackbird spy planes that flew higher than anything else in the world in their day, is trying for a different altitude record: an airplane that starts and ends its mission 150 feet underwater. The Cormorant, a stealthy, jet-powered, autonomous aircraft that could be outfitted with either short-range weapons or surveillance equipment, is designed to launch out of the Trident missile tubes in some of the U.S. Navy‚Äôs gigantic Cold War‚Äďera Ohio-class submarines. These formerly nuke-toting subs have become less useful in a military climate evolved to favor surgical strikes over nuclear stalemates, but the Cormorant could use their now-vacant tubes to provide another unmanned option for spying on or destroying targets near the coast.
This is no easy task. The tubes are as long as a semi trailer but about seven feet wide‚ÄĒnot exactly airplane-shaped. The...
Nothing completely new here, though ingenious enough. The Japanese had subs with floatplane hangars. From one of these sortied Nobuo Fujita, who dropped bombs on Oregon, attempting to start a forest fire in reprisal for the Doolittle Raid. He died in '97. Source: www.outwestnewspaper.com/bomboregon.html
Lockheed has had experience working titanium, on its SR-71. Come to Tucson to see one example at the Pima Air Museum.