Reconsidering The Cormorant
A few days ago, I blogged about a DARPA concept for a sub-launced Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle called the "Cormorant". I didn't like the idea very much, because I was concerned that the submarine would be vulnerable to attack when retrieving the MPUAV. Some people a lot smarter than me have convinced me to give it a second look, though, and I've decided it might be feasible.
Here's why: I'm used to the 21" vertical tubes on SSNs, so I didn't really think about how much bigger an SSBN (or SSGN, in this case) launch tube is; in fact, it's much bigger (I think it's 86 inches). This means that the MPUAV will probably be big enough to be both stealthy and fast; therefore, it should be able to reach the recovery area covertly, which would lessen the chance that an enemy would be able to track it to splashdown. Therefore, I think the system could work, and DARPA has what I'm sure it was waiting for: a random blogger's permission to proceed.
I'm just hoping that DARPA is also working on another system that could use the same basic deployment system that subs really need more than anything: a viable sub-launched anti-air missile system. Not only would being able to deploy a near-surface nest of anti-air missiles that could shoot down hovering helicopters or annoying MPAs be tactically useful, it would also seriously kick ass. Totally.