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The World's First Supercavitating Boat?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the introducing-the-samsung-cavitate dept.

The Military 186

An anonymous reader writes "For decades, researchers have been trying to build boats, submarines, and torpedoes that make use of supercavitation — a bubble layer around the hull that drastically reduces friction and enables super-fast travel. Now a company in New Hampshire called Juliet Marine Systems has built and tested such a craft, and says it is the world's fastest underwater vehicle. The ship, called the 'Ghost,' looks like two supercavitating torpedoes with a command module on top, and can carry 18 people plus weapons and supplies. The company is in talks with the U.S. Navy to build a version of the ship that can guard the fleet against swarm attacks by small boats. The question is how well it really works, and whether it can be used reliably and effectively on the high seas."

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And that's why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40402889)

That's why I bought a Saturn.

Re:And that's why (1)

Ashenkase (2008188) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403499)

Put a big wing on top and it would look more like a Lambda-class Imperial Shuttle [wikia.com]

Link, please? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40402927)

The summary contains a link that doesn't have an href attribute.

Re:Link, please? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40402949)

At least know one can blame you for not rtfa.

Re:Link, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403497)

At least know that no-one can blame you for not rtfa.

There, fixed that for you...

Re:Link, please? (4, Informative)

cachimaster (127194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40402967)

Article has enough keywords to uniquely locate the original article [wired.com]

Re:Link, please? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40402969)

Just a test to see if you're really trying to RTFA.

doesn't matter, article debunks itself (0)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403457)

Basically, scientists say the "supercavitating boat" is basically a bunch of BS and/or not that likely. Hype as usual.

Re:doesn't matter, article debunks itself (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403701)

Basically, scientists say the "supercavitating boat" is basically a bunch of BS and/or not that likely. Hype as usual.

Which scientists? Supercavitating torpedoes go back to the 1970s Shkval [wikipedia.org] for Russian models and the more recent Barracuda [wikipedia.org] for the Germans. Making a catamaran above a pair of them does not seem implausible.

Re:doesn't matter, article debunks itself (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404219)

Boat. not Torpedo. Carrying a pair of torpedos in the water with supercavitating propellers on the front does not mean the boats supercavitate. Claiming a catamaran can go through the water would require more than just the "torpedos" to supercavitate. RTFA. A catamaran above the water is substantially different than the claims at hand - which is *underwater*.

I didn't say a thing about torpedos, because that's not even a question here.

Re:Link, please? (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403609)

I thought in the submariners' world cavitation was a bad thing? Reason: It makes a lot of noise. That's why they move around slowly at 10-15 knots, rather than full speed with the propeller producing noisy bubbles. (And also why the Russians kept trying to steal our propeller tech, because their propellers tended to cavitate, making them easy targets.)

Re:Link, please? (4, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403911)

There's a difference between cavitation and supercavitation. Supercavitation takes those noisy bubbles that are destroying your propeller and extends them to enclose the entire vessel. This reduces the amount of surface in contact with the water, which greatly reduces drag, and all of a sudden you're rocketing along at 200 miles per hour and don't particularly care if people hear you coming.

Re:Link, please? (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403943)

You don't really care if you can be heard by sonar if you're doing 100 knots submerged. Torpedoes can't hit you except by dumb luck straight on.

Of course this thing is not completely submerged so you do have a chance against it with guns. Possibly also with a missile, but with no heat signature (it probably dumps waste heat in the water) and low radar signature you will have to get quite lucky.

No Link? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40402935)

I guess even the editor didn't try to read the article?

Re:No Link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403441)

Posted by... don't tell me.

I don't know if you're reading this, timothy, but it just won't do. We don't expect you to rewrite every submission for tone, content, grammar or spelling but, frankly, I don't think checking that the links work is too much to ask. You might be justified in thinking this is petty criticism, but I wouldn't be writing about it if this was an isolated incident.

Quest for link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40402937)

Is it just me or is that link missing a href?
It doesn't link anywhere.

Re:Quest for link (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40402959)

Is it just me or is that link missing a href? It doesn't link anywhere.

It's just you. It works fine for everyone else.

So fast it outran the Link ! (5, Informative)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40402951)

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403077)

"A squadron of GHOSTs would not be detectable to seeking enemy ship radar and sensors."

uh how, exactly?

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403207)

Same way the stealth bomber is not ...

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (4, Informative)

aurizon (122550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403475)

Supercavitating is super noisy and very detectable by underwater ears.
The supercavitating transition layer reflects sound very well = also detectable.
at 300 to 500 miles per hour the immediacy compensates for the noise which makes it hard to localize, but you sure know it was around.

The Russian supercavitating torpdeo was very very noisy, but fast as stink...
It use decomposing Hydrogen peroxide as high power density fuel.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_submarine_K-141_Kursk [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VA-111_Shkval [wikipedia.org]

Scientific American had article on the technology behind their paywall.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercavitation [wikipedia.org] wiki refers to it and it can be found online...

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403595)

The Russian supercavitating torpdeo was very very noisy, but fast as stink...

What is the speed of stink? Preferably in the standard measure of furlongs per fortnight. ;-)

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

aurizon (122550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403867)

Stink propagates at c/.000001

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

Moses48 (1849872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404041)

Well damn, stink has sure one-upped the neutrino.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40404189)

That's because stink is propagated via much nimbler particles, known as pewtrinos, often the result of latrino decay.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

aurizon (122550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404291)

Hence the saying...

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1, Informative)

Sentrion (964745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403535)

1st: Radar cannot penetrate underwater and the part of the GHOST ships that are above water have the same type of design and material as the stealth fighter.
2nd: One of the goals of supercavitation is to achieve faster-than-sound speed underwater. Since sonar uses sound waves to detect objects, if you could travel toward a ship equipped with sonar you could reach them before they had a chance to detect you. Other ships would eventually detect you, but there would be such lag in detection that it would be extremely difficult to fire artillery, rockets, or torpedoes onto your position unless you traveled a straight or predictable path for a good length of time. The fact that the boat exists indicates that the torpedo technology is probably already on board US vessels - meaning that the US could sink just about any ship before the enemy even knew torpedoes where in the water.

If in fact the boat can travel up to 200mph it would be extremely difficult to track or follow without a high speed aircraft dedicated to this purpose. And such a plane would need to rely on visual contact with the vessel because it evades detection by radar. Methods to attack such a craft at max speed would be limited, such as flying right up to the boat and using visual sights to engage the vessel with machine guns, canon, unguided rockets, and/or optically guided missiles (where the pilot has to control the flight of the missile with a remote control and visually guide it into the target). Needless to say that many if not most of the "low tech" options, such as machine guns or rockets do not work so well at high speeds and many modern fighter jets aren't even equipped with such weaponry. The only modern type of weapon, the optically guided missiles, are very expensive.

At such high speeds though, I would hate to think what would happen if it were to hit a porpoise or sea turtle.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (4, Informative)

alannon (54117) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403575)

Re the 2nd: You realize the speed of sound in water is more than 4x of that in air, right? We can barely build a craft that can go that speed in the air, let alone water.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40404157)

Re the 2nd:
You realize the speed of sound in water is more than 4x of that in air, right? We can barely build a craft that can go that speed in the air, let alone water.

I heard the sr-71 can do that for brief periods. It (and the pilot) needs to be rebuilt after each dive, though.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403695)

Low RCS yeah right. This thing is about as stealthy as a fishing boat. Luckily the con ops aren't going for hitech, just high speed cleanup. Also don't trust anyone who tries to sell you on "same type of design and material as the stealth fighter.".

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404129)

According to the article (ahem) the top speed has not been announced but is expected to be around 100 MPH, which is of course slower than conventional speedboats. Moreover it is doubtful it could maneuver near this top speed. All this is in the article. I don't see how this could possibly be stealthy to sonobouys etc.

The article claims it is much smoother than a hydroplane in rough seas. Of course, since it is a hydrofoil. That doesn't mean it's smoother than other hydrofoil craft.

To me it appears to be a low-drag hydrofoil boat. The article doesn't have enough information to say whether the reduction in drag due to putting bubbles all around the hydrofoils outweighs the constraints of putting the gas turbine engines inside the hydrofoils.

The narrative in the article is that this was conceived as a defense against speedboat attacks on Navy ships, which makes little sense to me, since this defense would leave everything on the timespan of human command, control, and piloting. Instead, modify the sensors on existing CIWS to target speedboats. A gatling gun would rip a small boat full of explosives to shreds. It's just a matter of reacting fast enough - which in practice means balancing the danger of an unanticipated attack against the danger of shooting yourself in the foot.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404215)

Ok, it has basically been done [freerepublic.com]

The US Navy had a program to integrate the CIWS gun with the Oto Melara 76mm Compact 75 on US frigates. The project, called Swarmbuster, does not seem to have been completed. The Compact 75 is a long range 3 inch gun that is effective in the counter-ship counter-boat role. It also has ammunition with sufficient burst to blow a swarming boat out of the water. Improved versions of the Oto gun fire 100 rounds per minute or better. It can use the same sensor as the CIWS gun.

If they haven't taken it to completion, it's because they don't think it's a big enough threat to bother.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (2, Insightful)

cachimaster (127194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403117)

Great, another public relations company "news". No reporter was involved on this, 100% paid advertisment.
This is journalism today. You want to be on the news, just pay for it. Even slashdot is part of the system now.
BTW this work for universities too, that's why MIT makes the new every time they wire a microcontroller to a dishwasher.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403429)

Great, another public relations company "news". No reporter was involved on this, 100% paid advertisment.

Did you actually RTFA? They're citing people who are casting doubts on the claims, they're talking about people who refused to comment.

So, I'd be more inclined to believe you read the first paragraph and have decided it's a press release.

The presence of things like "I am dubious about the application of supercavitating propellers" tells me this wasn't simply word-smithed to provide only glowing praise.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403607)

I'm more dubious that they call it an "underwater vehicle". It's motors are underwater. People are above water.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404063)

I'm more dubious that they call it an "underwater vehicle". It's motors are underwater. People are above water.

That's to distinguish this vehicle, which still has significant mass below the surface of the water when running at speed, from speedboats that run on a plane when at speed.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404047)

GP probably wasn't referencing the article in the submission. GP probably was thinking of the link in the previous comment, which was in fact a PR puff piece.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403643)

That 'prnewswire' link someone posted is just a press release, and is not the article referenced in the summary.

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403675)

How did this garbage parent comment get +5 insightful?

I take it that your company routinely puts out press releases that call the product's value and science into question? That's why it's doing so well, right?

Let me guess; you skimmed the first paragraph and then rushed to hit the reply button on /. to try and get high up on the page?

Re:So fast it outran the Link ! (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403737)

Advertisements have their place.

But why in the world when your only possible/ legal customer is the US Navy?

No link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40402953)

A html anchor without a href attribute? Nice.

Broken link? (2)

Tiger_Storms (769548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40402955)

I've tried the link in IE, firefox, and crome and it doesn't appear to work? I searched around and found pictures and more info. http://deskarati.com/2012/01/19/worlds-first-super-cavitating-watercraft/ [deskarati.com]

Re:Broken link? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403913)

WARNING:
goatse link!

Citation (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40402977)

So true it was underlined!

broken link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40402979)

The only hyperlink in the summary doesn't actually go anywhere.

Nice link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40402987)

The href attribute was left off the link.... clicky not work so well.

Here's [prnewswire.com] a year old alternative.

link from january 18th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40402999)

http://www.gizmag.com/ghost-super-cavitating-military-boat/21137/

Link has no URL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403003)

View Source: ... blah blah blah...
<a>has built and tested such a craft</a> ... blah blah blah...

A boat? (0)

tburke261 (981079) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403027)

Since when is a 'underwater craft' referred to as a 'boat'? A USN Submariner friend of mine affectionately calls his submarine a 'boat' sometimes, but come on /.!
It's a SUBMARINE! You could even call it a 'craft' or a 'vehicle'.

Re:A boat? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403073)

Since when is a 'underwater craft' referred to as a 'boat'?

Since the dawn of the submarine era. Even the Germans do it in U-boats.

Re:A boat? (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403079)

Calling a sub a "boat" is actually the standard way of referring to a sub in the Navy. It's not an affectionate term, it's a standard one. If you called a sub a ship while you were in the Navy, you'd get corrected immediately.

Now, whether you thought that was proper for subs outside the Navy, I don't know. However, since this is being shopped to the Navy, it seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to call it.

Re:A boat? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403211)

I believe "submarine" is just the adjective of "submarine boat" - as in literally "a boat (that goes) below the sea"

Re:A boat? (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403987)

i like the german version "unterwaterboot" for comedy value

Re:A boat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403109)

Since always...

Navy call them boats because they aren't ships, and in German it's an under-sea-boat...

Re:A boat? (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403111)

Since when is a 'underwater craft' referred to as a 'boat'? A USN Submariner friend of mine affectionately calls his submarine a 'boat' sometimes, but come on /.!

That's because [wikipedia.org]

Submarines are usually referred to as "boats" rather than as "ships", regardless of their size."

A sub is always a boat. Navies have always called them boats, that's why your submariner friend calls it that.

You might not like it, but "boat" is the correct term.

Re:A boat? (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403945)

My Navy brother yells at us when we use boat to refer to a non-submarine, too. Boat = underwater, ship = above water.

Re:A boat? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403151)

This is not a submarine.

FTA: like a high-tech torpedo, except part of the craft is above water—

And the picture shows the entire boat is above water except the drive.

Re:A boat? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403187)

1) As far as I can tell, the command module never submerges. Could be wrong on that bit though.
2) The inventor also calls it an airplane. " “It’s almost as much an aircraft as it is a boat,” says its inventor, Gregory Sancoff, the founder and CEO of Juliet Marine Systems, a private company in Portsmouth, NH."
3) The article says it "looks like something out of Star Trek" and links to a bad image of a Romulan Bird of Pray. The drydock picture next to the link looks a lot more like a TNG/DS9/VOY-era shuttlecraft with grossly extended nacelles.

Re:A boat? (2)

photonyx (2507666) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403245)

No it's not a submarine. From TFA:

The main compartment of the Ghost vessel, which houses the cockpit and controls, sits above the water in between two torpedo-shaped pontoons or “foils,” which are submerged and create all the buoyancy and propulsion for the craft.

Would be interesting to see it in the open ocean with the high waves. If the wave height is higher than the boat clearance it's similar to hitting the water surface at 100 mph. A nosedive at such a speed means the cockpit becomes a 12-seat grave.

Re:A boat? (1)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403637)

Since the article is talking about a boat, resting on two underwater foils that use supercavitation to reduce friction so the *boat* goes faster :/

Re:A boat? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403677)

You know who builds subs for the Navy? Electric Boat.

Re:A boat? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403763)

The English word boat is from the Dutch boot, the Dutch navy has them, they are all 'onderzeeboot' or in English submarine.

What floats is a ship.

Re:A boat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403965)

The company that made, makes, and will make subs here in the US is the Electric Boat Company [gdeb.com] . It was founded in 1899. Submarines have been called boats for well over a century. You have simply shown your ignorance.

Submarine? Two Torpedos? Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403047)

The Ghost shown on the Juliet Marine web site (http://julietmarine.com/ [julietmarine.com] ) is a surface ship that doesn't look anything like two torpedoes. In fact, if anything, it looks similar to an original Start Trek series shuttle craft with bigger (and fold-able) wings. Also Ghost was announces in Aug 2011, so where's the news exactly?

Re:Submarine? Two Torpedos? Where? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403127)

The Ghost shown on the Juliet Marine web site (http://julietmarine.com/ [julietmarine.com] ) is a surface ship that doesn't look anything like two torpedoes. In fact, if anything, it looks similar to an original Start Trek series shuttle craft with bigger (and fold-able) wings. Also Ghost was announces in Aug 2011, so where's the news exactly?

Ouch. That article was so full of buzzwords and hype that my brain started cavitating.

Re:Submarine? Two Torpedos? Where? (2)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403663)

Ouch. That article was so full of buzzwords and hype that my brain started cavitating.

But did it *super*cavitate? Inquiring minds want to know! :)

Re:Submarine? Two Torpedos? Where? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403179)

The drive unit looks like two torpedoes. Look at the out of water picture [xconomy.com] .

Surface Boat or Submarine (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403121)

Is this a submarine or not? Wikipedia calls it a surface boat, while the linked article is unclear. Anybody have some solid info on this thing?

Re:Surface Boat or Submarine (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403185)

It's clearly a surface boat. From TFA:

It “flies” through the water more or less the way it was designed to—like a high-tech torpedo, except part of the craft is above water...

Re:Surface Boat or Submarine (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403277)

You can't change TFA after I post and then say "Hey look it's in TFA. Are you blind?". Morons.

propelled by sonoluminescent fusion, I presume? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404121)

This is like a supercavitating hydrofoil. This is not like a WiG (Wing in Ground) craft. Similar to a cement mixer full of bowling balls falling off a cliff, it is loud and fast (and I assume can be dangerous, too). It is not like a ham sandwich. It's not a big truck. It's not something you just dump something on.

So much fluff I don't even know where to begin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403135)

1. "Thousands of pounds of weapons" would mean a single ADCAP(3,695 lbs), hardly "virtually unstoppable".
2. "A squadron of GHOSTs would not be detectable to seeking enemy ship radar and sensors." Are you kidding me? You'll be creating so much noise while super cavitating that anyone with a sensor (passive sonar) under the water can hear you from miles away. A large collapsing bubble under water is NOT going to be undetectable.
3. "The GHOST platform and technology could reduce the need for LCS completely with the capability to travel long distances and conduct the same missions." Not likely as the LCS is designed to be a truck in hauling large loads of modules and equipment from point A to point B. This dinky thing may be good to deliver seal teams quickly to shore but does not fill the capability of the LCS.
4. "GHOST can deliver forces to any beach location quickly and quietly with enough weapons to conduct a hot extraction." This is the one and only use for a super cavitating submersible that actually makes sense.

The question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403247)

why the hell do we waste so much money on the military for non-existent threats?

The question is how well it really works, and whether it can be used reliably and effectively on the high seas."

Re:The question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403621)

And the answer to that question is: We don't.

Re:The question is (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403801)

After seeing firsthand what Juliet Marine built with $5 million, Kinsella said, “If you were taken around by a handler from Lockheed or Grumman or Northrop or any of them, and they told you, ‘We developed this on $150 million,’ you wouldn’t bat an eye.” He told the story of a meeting with Avalon and its fund investors. Someone asked Sancoff, “How did you get to be so capital efficient in your company?” Kinsella relays, “He leaned on the podium and said, ‘Because it was my money.’”

The navy really is where the new military innovati (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403283)

The air force did GPS, then the stealth, then drones.

Now it's the Navy's turn - nuclear, rail, speed and stealth.

Frankly, the nuclear powered rail gun is probably going to be the biggest improvement in a long time. The navy will develop it for their new magnetic rail launch system for jets off a carrier, then move it to direct attack..

Re:The navy really is where the new military innov (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404005)

Now it's the Navy's turn - nuclear, rail, speed and stealth.

They should really hire some people who know Latin though. After the "velocitas eradico" railgun fiasco, I wouldn't be surprised if the motto for this thing is "cavitas pecuniae".

OOPS AND OUCH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403285)

Obviously such a craft could reach very high speeds. The catch is that if that bubble fails to shield even for a fraction of a second the craft might be completely destroyed. I suspect that instead of trying to get into super sonic realms they might hold the speed down to a level that the collapse of the bubble would leave the vessel in tack. That might mean a maximum of 100 mph or even less.

Two patent applications, lots of figures (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403289)

The fine article links to only one of the patent applications. There are actually two (with lots of figures):

20120097086 FLEET PROTECTION ATTACK CRAFT AND UNDERWATER VEHICLES [freepatentsonline.com] (39 figures) and

20110226173 FLEET PROTECTION ATTACK CRAFT (36 figures) [freepatentsonline.com]

Probably not very useful (5, Interesting)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403319)

This type of boat is probably too limited in usefulness to be adopted by the navy. In terms of R&D capabilities it feels a lot like the experiments from the 1960s to develop militarized hydrofoils - the Canadian HMCS Bras d'Or [wikipedia.org] being one good example. Despite impressive stability and speeds in excess of 60 knots (70mph), the limited load capacity and range made the prototypes unsuitable for military use.

The biggest hit, however, was the introduction of missiles. The difference between 20 and 30 knots isn't all that important when you're defending against a Sea Sparrow running at 500 mph. In WWII there were lots of destroyers running in excess of 35 knots. Now it's just the nuke-powered ACs that do top speeds, and everyone else is more worried about conserving fuel.

That means the proposed boat is really just a replacement for patrol vessels or stealth assault craft, and it doesn't look like the advantages of the design outweigh the compromises in handling, noise, carrying capacity and cost.

Re:Probably not very useful (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403549)

On the other hand, if they can modify this technology to be usable on submarines that would be a huge change.

Re:Probably not very useful (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403759)

Not really supercavitation is loud and that is bad.

everyone else is more worried about conserving fue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403731)

You said it: "everyone else is more worried about conserving fuel"
They claim that this thing is not only faster but also more fuel efficient.

Re:Probably not very useful (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404145)

It's limited in usefulness if you were looking to deploy them in the traditional sense of leaving port and not returning to land for months. However, you could put them on a carrier like we do aircraft, and launch them from there for regular patrols, assaults, and as a way to quickly gain superiority in the water in naval battles.

You'd just need to retrofit some your smaller escort ships to each be able to launch one or two. Or build a whole new class of carriers for them, which while cool, probably isn't economically feasible.

Interesting boat, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403355)

they say

"any sort of turning or maneuvering must be done very carefully, because if the bubble layer distorts or breaks down at high speeds, tremendous water forces will come to bear on the foils, which can be catastrophic"

What happens if somebody explodes a shell near it while it is at speed?
    Hopefully they have sims which say that works as well.

Invalid patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403363)

Is this a scam or is this guy deliberately trying to invalidate his own patent. Here is a quote from the article:

After doing some digging in the literature, I asked Sancoff whether what’s in the patent filing is really how it works—in terms of how the Ghost creates its mysterious supercavitation. His answer: “No.”

Isn't a patent supposed to be describe how the device with enough accuracy so a 'person skilled in the art' to be able to reproduce it? Otherwise it would be invalid. Right?

Re:Invalid patent? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403831)

I assume as long as he is the only one skilled in the art it stands...

Re:Invalid patent? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403875)

No.

That just means the patent doesn't describe how this particular one works. It might describe part of how it works, it might describe a completely different approach, etc.

It also means that some part of the design isn't protected by that patent, which you would expect give the article also says "exactly how this is done is a trade secret" - and one thing can't be both a trade secret and a patented. I can however, combine a patented invention and a trade secret - just if the secret ever gets out I can't stop others from using it.

Invalidate the patent right now (3)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403387)

"Sancoff said that what’s in the patent filing isn’t quite how it works."

That should be forwarded to the examiner and the book closed.

Re:Invalidate the patent right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403649)

the problem is there are people who don't give a rat's a(&( about you have a patent and will rip you off anyway - putting all the know-how into the patent is not good

You need to balance patent vs trade secret on some of the better bits

As so often (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40403577)

The roossians already have supercavitating torpedoes deployed. Whaddaya mean, first?

Sounds like warp drive for boats (1)

Gimbal (2474818) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403635)

...mmm, kinda?

What? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403673)

This article makes no sense.

"The angle of the struts that connect the foils to the command module is adjustable&mdash;so the craft can ride high in choppy seas and at high speeds (so waves don&rsquo;t hit the middle part), and low in calm water and at lower speeds.

&ldquo;We&rsquo;re basically riding on two supercavitating torpedoes. And we&rsquo;ve put a boat on top of it,&rdquo; Sancoff says."

Ok, so it's a hydrofoil...

"The propellers are powered by a modified gas turbine&mdash;a jet engine&mdash;housed in each foil; the air intake and exhaust ports for the engines are in the struts."

Yep, definitely above water... boat... not submarine....

"Yet its rumored speed is at least 80-100 knots&mdash;over 100 mph. That&rsquo;s not going to challenge the top speedboat records&mdash;there have been hydroplane efforts (riding on the water surface) that have exceeded 200 mph (174 knots) and even 300 mph (261 knots), some with fatal results&mdash;but the Ghost is faster than any previous underwater vehicle, Sancoff says."

wait... what? It's a surface vehicle that's faster than any previous underwater vehicle? Why doesn't he just invent a Jet airplane and make the same claim?!?

"he Ghost provides a much smoother ride than what Navy SEALs are used to"

ok... so the ride is smoother. So far this seems like its only benefit.

"As for the craft&rsquo;s audio profile, Sancoff is proud of its &ldquo;silent propulsion&rdquo; system that includes a sophisticated muffler system for the engines. You can&rsquo;t hear it from 50 feet away, he says."

Ok, it's powered by JET ENGINES but you can't hear it from 50 feet away? um... yea...

Potential Customers (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403709)

Navies, smugglers, pirates.

Re:Potential Customers (1)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40403761)

Except it's more expensive and slower than a high speed boat...

Re:Potential Customers (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404007)

pick one up at Anchorhead

Interesting Technology (1)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 2 years ago | (#40404349)

It sounds like they use an envelope of bubbles to encase the nacelles in air to reduce the friction between the nacelles and the water. If it works for increasing the speed through water, maybe the same methodology can be applied to increase speed of travel through air.... Surround the craft with a vacuum to reduce air friction. Maybe call it superturbulence.
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