Navy Tests Advanced Sub-Missile Launcher
Can it be that the world’s top destroyer of ships and original stealth vessel has just gotten more lethal? The US Navy has tested a new water-piercing missile launcher in land-locked Indiana that could change the types of missiles almost any submarine can carry. Story from Navy News:
A missile launcher that is being considered for the next generation of strategic submarines, and could be used on existing submarines, is being tested at the Glendora Lake Facility 50 miles from Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC Crane), Ind…
In the past, missiles would launch from submarines and make their way to the surface through the water. A missile in the WPML missile launcher works differently –it uses its own exhaust to create an atmosphere for the missile to enter, almost like its own tunnel to the surface.
The implications of such a launcher is, you won’t have to build specialized missiles for firing from undersea:
If WPML continues to work, the Navy won’t have to make missiles specifically designed for submarines, but use existing missiles designed for aircraft or helicopters. Yagla added that anti-aircraft warfare missiles like Sidewinders “would allow the submarines to spend more time in shallow water supporting special operations missions ashore.”
Another missile that can be used is the Army’s future combat system non-line of sight missile.
If they can get the latter to work properly, but still this is very exiting and could grant a whole new flexibility to the modern sub, very economically. I realize this will anger the carrier advocates out there, but a $14 billion supercarrier just can’t match this type of adaptability, at least not without “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. In other words, so much is spent on the hull itself, there is very little funds left for the important thing about carriers, which is their aircraft. Here you see the still mostly affordable submarine (even more if it is a conventional type) now being able to utilize an amazing and diverse family of weapons. That to me is the future of warfare, not giant and shrinking number of platforms.
“They are small surface-to-surface missiles that can be fired at distant targets such as tanks, armored personnel carriers and buildings,” said Yagla.
As with the Sidewinder, this missile would assist Navy special operation forces to obtain fire support from submarines.