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The Future of the Royal Navy Discussion


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Unmanned aircraft Munition:

"Well that sounds like a bomber with extra steps"

This is basically how aircraft work, they fly out to a place and drop an explosive bit while all the flying bits return to base. It looks like this specific drawing is seperating a small quad-copter to return and leaving the rest of the aircraft to go blow something up? Based on some quick google searching the range of a small quad-copter is only 6-7 miles so you'd need some kind of pickup thing nearby to retreive the core module then fly it back to the carrier. You would also only be returning the computer and sensor module so I'm not certain this would be a great return on investment over something more conventional like a small drone that drops cheap bombs.

Though I could see a use for something like a cruise missile or loitering bomb that has a detachable 'core system' for battle damage assessment after the bomb has hit the target and isn't really intended to be returned to the carrier.

Sensor Balloons:

We have these now, and I think its only a matter of time before something similar appears on ships.

I DON'T think they will work on the carrier. The carrier will want to operate at extreme distances, and will likely have scouts in the form of aircraft and boats. I think THOSE boats will start to carry either Sensor Balloons, Sensor modules, or teathered drones carrying sensory packages.

Ulta Fast Propusion - Rocket:

First thought: Carriers are going to be nuclear powered and have lots of energy. It would be super easy to get rocket fuel by cracking water into Hydrogen and Oxygen.

Rockets would also be a poor choice for this since the carrier isn't going to get supersonic. You would be better off using a turboprop.

You would also need to dramatically redesign the ship for faster speeds if you really wanted GOFAST technolgy. Either going more towards an Ekranoplan like design: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lun-class_ekranoplan or go for something supersonic like the Skval https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VA-111_Shkval. I think either way this will dramatically eat into the carrier's capabilities.

Morphing Hulls

This would certainly give the mechanical engineers a lot to do onboard the ship. I'm not sure what method is being used to change the hull shape, perhaps inflatable sections? I imagine this would introduce a lot of complexity without producing a lot of benifit. You likely might use the SWATH mode for stability and just fill some balast tanks to get the semi-submersible stealth mode.

Quantum Sensing Devices around Vessel

Pure Star-Trek with no basis in reality. Real Quantum Sensors are scientific tools and don't work like Radar.

Stations for RF weapons, Lasers, Hologram Projections, and Rail Guns.

I don't think any military is going to be fooled by hologram projectors, and these kind of weapons aren't the primary capability of carriers anyways.

Downward Launching for manned subs and AVVs.

I think you want your carrier focusing on aircraft stuff, and would save all your internal space for that unless you absolutely need to. I imagine you'd have another ship for underwater operations. I also don't think you would want to put this inside of the slim transforming hull section.

Onboard 3d Printing of stuff:

Probably not for everything, but 3d printing will certainly show up on ships in the future in some capacity.

Widespread use of biodegradable materials certainly would make keeping your own bases and training areas clean.

Horizontal Torpedoes:

Sure, but I also think you'd put this on other ships rather than on your carrier to free up space for air operations... or just launch it from an aircraft.

Gills to extract Hydrogen from the ocean:

If you're already running a nuclear reactor, you could get hydrogen and turn it into jet fuel which could expand your logistical capabilities. Not sure you would use 'gills' for this.


We already have ships that use sails today, and if this was small / lightweight enough this could easily be an extra boost to logistics.

Wind Turbine:

Certainly also an option. I imagine these are easily retractable and possibly made from an inflatable mesh. It could easily be used to generate a little extra power to expand your logistics. I also imagine that a flying wind turbine option would let you both generate power and act as a kite to pull the ship.

Increasing ship beam to store more special forces guys:

Just build that into the ship from the get-go.


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Interchangeable Modules

This was tried during the LCS program and generally seemed to be disliked. Part of the problem was the time lost in having to return to base to swap out modules in order to do another mission. Housing the modules on the ship may help resolve that but ultimately I think you'd be better off just bringing 5 drones instead of 4 drones and 6 different modules. Making the ship itself modular runs right into the problems the LCS had but I do see the benefit in having a common hull that can be quickly redesigned for new capabilities.

Limpit Pods

I can't imagine that having these pods, each with their own propulsion system, will be more efficient than just integrating these systems into the hull. A sensor on a mast that can see 360 degrees is going to be more efficient than a sensor limpit constantly moving around the ship. This also goes for weapons, since you can always turn the ship to bring all your line-of-sight weapons to bare on a target or simply use missiles that can hit a target regardless of orientation without the need for all the extra weight of a magnetic limpet pathway.

Alternate Power Sources

Underwater Forward Operating Bases are a thing the US has been working on and I imagine if the navy could they would stage as many supplies as far forward as they could. Since this is the Royal Navy, I imagine they don't have don't have the money to put forward bases everywhere. It might make more sense to have these alternate power systems built into the primary mission of the main ship: IE have those wind turbines / solar panels on the mothership and use it to charge the support ships. It would also take a massive amount of Plankton to power ships, probably far more than a submarine could reasonably gather if it wanted to do anything useful.


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Getting hit by a projectile would be bad, but that would involve a failure of all the defensive systems protecting the floating platform. Just getting hit by anything would mission kill most things so I don't think its too big a deal here. That said, being able to hold the helium balloon would be very leaky and it isn't going to hold up well long term unless the skin is so thick as to make it unusable.

The fast attack craft.

This is a boat, that is a spaceship, that is also a submarine and aircraft. This is going to be a nightmare to design and operate. More importantly, why do you need any of this in order to conduct this mission profile? Just drop a stealth cruise missile from near-space instead of getting all the difficulty of operating in space, air, underwater, and on water.

GI Joe would love this though.

Frisbee Railgun Shot.

This pye wacket missile already exist sorta: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pye_Wacket

But why would you use this type of missile? The Pye Wacket was designed because it needed to be fired at high off angle in order to protect the bomber. This railgun-Frisbee just needs to go forward so why not use a regular missile that is already optimized for that mission?

Solar Powered.

There doesn't appear to be usable surface for this, and it would take a lot of power for station keeping. I don't imagine there is enough space for solar power to keep this thing in place.

Short Range Laser Weapons on the balloon.

A solar powered laser on a balloon? I don't think that's going to work.


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Brain Coral Skin

I can't imagine sea coral is the optimized texture for traveling through water. Coral is designed to maximize surface area to pull stuff out of the water which is the opposite of what you want for moving through the ocean. This might make more sense for a stationary undersea base.


These are going to be a nightmare to operate. Shape shifting but also not a shape optimized for their environment. They don't get the benefit of more efficient engines from scaling up like larger boats do. Their engines also have to be omnidirectional which is only going to further hurt efficiency. Limpiting onto your other ships is just going to hurt their efficiency too, especially when you could just carry them inside of the hull.

Being able to lock together a bunch of small boats to create a larger structure is cool, but I don't think these shapes would be good for difficult sea states.

This feels like mashing together a bunch of shapes and saying they can do stuff.

Even the blended wing body isn't really useful underwater, since it won't push through the water as well as a traditional submarine would.

Also, filling your robot-bombs with humanitarian aid supplies is just asking for trouble.


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Tethered Drone:

I see a lot of uses for this. I'll gloss over the problems of making it big enough to hold all this equipment since I think those are more of an engineering challenge than an impossibility. Putting a laser weapon up on a floating platform would certainly help with line of sight problems caused by the Horizon. There is a question of just how useful that would be against an incoming missile swarm, especially hypersonic missiles that both travel extremely fast and already need to be very heat resistant. The extra shooting time might end up not being worth it.

Putting the Radars on these could be extremely useful. Not only would you get better line of sight, but you would also be able to let your radar lag behind your ship at a good distance. It would act like a semi-permanent decoy like the Nulka decoy system. Being able to get missiles to target this floating quad-copter rather than your ship could provide much better protection against attack than the laser system.

Also, the huge benefit over balloons is that you can control where this tethered drone goes. This means if it does crash it won't be hovering right over your ship.

See-Through Shell:

Interesting technology, but I'm not sure this has much use other than creature-comfort. If this is much more expensive than a non-see-through hull I imagine they would just go with the regular hull. Ontop of that I also expect the internal sides of the ship would be used for holding stuff so having it see-through might not be a huge benefit.

Flight Deck/floodable garage:

I think all ships seem to be going this way, being able to carry some amount of additional flying vehicles and water vehicles. I'm kinda on the fence about 'should this include a catapult' since it seems like you can perform a good number of missions using helicopters and helicopter like vehicles. You're also going to want to be able to launch and recover larger aircraft but depending on what you have in the fleet it may make sense to just leave that to a dedicated aircraft carrier design.

3d printing:

I think you'll certainly see more of this on ships, but it will be interesting to see how much of it gets used. Certainly it is useful to 3d print some parts for repairs but you're not going to want to have to print a new drone every time you want a drone.

Hypersonic Missiles:

These look like every small hypersonic missiles. Hypersonic missiles require a lot of fuel to get them going fast and maintain that speed for long enough to reach a target. You might carry a few of them but I imagine you would be better served by carrying more missiles that move slower and have a longer range.

Holographic Command Centre:

Neat. I imagine we'll still have models on the board though just like how aircraft carriers still use them in case the electronics go down.

Torpedo Bubbles:

Similar to Hypersonic missiles, these torpedos require a lot of fuel and are much bigger than their slower counterparts. You're already carrying small unmanned submarines on this ship too. I think you'd want to include some torpedo countermeasures and save space on carrying actual torpedoes by arming your unmanned submarines. You will get more bang for your buck by sailing the torpedoes out with your submarines and having them launched there.

Unless this is supposed to be a VLASROC type system where the torpedo is actually flying on a rocket towards the target and then is going underwater to hunt the sub. Though similarly you should probably use some kinda helicopter-drone-launched-torpedo for that.


This certainly makes a strong case for nuclear-powered warships. You're going to need a lot of power to run all these systems and it seems like the best way to get that in the field is nuclear. Of course if you're already lugging around this giant power plant it makes a lot of sense to also have weapons that can make use of it like railguns, lasers, etc.


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Ok, this time it isn't the Royal Navy. Instead we are going to see what the US navy has planned for the far flung YEAR 2000!