The United States Navy is leading a ground-breaking attempt to develop a supersonic submarine capable of travelling faster than sound underwater. Researchers at Penn State and its Chinese counterparts are rushing to explore the possibilities of supercavitation. This idea, inspired by Cold War technology, surrounds vessels in air bubbles to reduce drag.
The initiative, which was started in 2016 and is funded by the US Navy, intends to transform underwater navigation. Similar to the Soviet Shkval torpedo, which could reach 370 km/h (230 mph), researchers are researching techniques to drive submarines that they had never imagined.
The X-59 experimental aircraft, which Lockheed Martin and NASA recently unveiled, showcases the worldwide effort to achieve flying at supersonic speeds. But now the attention is below the surface, where an underground race to explore the deep is gathering speed.
Supersonic submarines can reduce transatlantic voyage times to 50 minutes and complete journeys between San Francisco and Tokyo in just 90 minutes. However, there are still significant obstacles to this revolutionary accomplishment. At these speeds, conventional propulsion techniques are insufficient; hence, creating advanced underwater rocket engines is required. Navigating through bubbles is an incredibly challenging situation that requires innovative approaches.
Even if the idea of supersonic submarines may seem far off, continuous research is bringing this revolutionary undersea transportation closer to reality.
What is a Supersonic Submarine?
Supersonic submarines are a breakthrough concept in underwater transportation. Submarines with supersonic speeds are designed to travel faster underwater than the speed of sound, in contrast to conventional submarines, which generally operate at comparatively slower rates.
The technology and propulsion system chosen make all the difference. Supercavitation is a technique supersonic submarines use to reduce drag by encasing the craft in an air bubble. As a result, the submarine can navigate through the sea more quickly and reach previously impossible speeds.
Supersonic submarines also need sophisticated engineering to navigate through the water while surrounded by the air bubble and endure the forces encountered at such high speeds. Supersonic submarines have the potential to facilitate swift transoceanic transit and research, marking a substantial advancement in underwater transportation technology.
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