Torpedo Tube Muzzle Isn't A "One Way" Street Anymore
Interesting story from Navy NewsStand about a successful homing and docking test of an Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) from USS Scranton (SSN 756). The thing that fascinates me the most about the project is the amazing method they have of recovering the UUV:
"After the UUV is launched from the submarine’s torpedo tube, it transits to a series of pre-programmed waypoints. Meanwhile, the submarine maneuvers to rendezvous with the UUV. Homing and Docking sonar guides the UUV towards the recovery arm, a unique docking mechanism that extends out of the ship’s upper torpedo tube. After the UUV is captured, the recovery arm guides the UUV into the lower torpedo tube, and back into the submarine."
I've always been interested in the potential of the torpedo tubes as a route of ingress to submarines ever since the Great Topeka Food Shortage of 1992. As we were heading into our second week of bologna pinwheels and jello, and knew that we had only about a week of food left, several of us on USS Topeka came up with a plan to drain a torpedo tube, getting in the middle of a school of fish, and then force open the muzzle valve against sea pressure to suck the fish into the tube. Then it'd just be a matter of shutting the muzzle valve, draining the tube, and sending someone in to collect all the tasty fish. (Another team was working up a roster of riders to we could eat; it was one of those deployments where we had about 20 CTs riding...)