The French company DCNS developed an interesting concept ship which is essentially a stealth submarine which operate very close to the surface of the water. The SMX-25 will be cheaper and easier to build and operate than a conventional submarine but will still have many of the benefits including very low signature, making it hard to detect.
|SMX-25 (Credit: DCNS)|
DCNS envision the SMX-25 to be powered by three gas turbines driving three water jets and submersible is designed to achieve a sustained surface speed of 38 knots. Despite the fact that the SMX-25 can deploy very quickly, it is essentially a conventional submarine. On reaching its designated patrol area, the SMX-25 will operate like other submarines using the same types of sensors and resources.
In the innovative semi-surfaced configuration, with only the upper portion of the sail above water, the boat will be able to use the same sorts of sensors (including an aircraft surveillance radar) and weapons as a conventional surface combatant (i.e. anti-ship, land-strike and anti-air missiles launched from vertical silos) while maintaining an extremely discrete radar signature.
According to aviationweek: Non-nuclear submarines cannot typically operate fast for long run: current generation batteries do not store enough energy and their circular-section hulls are not considered to be very efficient when operating on the surface of the water and they are typically limited to about 10 knots. The SMX-25 is on the other hand is designed for high speed on the surface, with a wave-piercing hull and a top speed of 38 knots and a range of about 8000 nm. According to DCNS it will be hard to detect via sonar and radar and hard to hit by missiles (as it has a low signature and can also dive to evade the missile) and also hard to destroy using a torpedo because of its fast speed.
The SMX-25 will be equipped to deploy SEAL teams and their delivery vehicles, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It will also include some fairly heavy weaponry including 16 missiles, 4 heavy machine guns and torpedoes operated by a crew of 27 plus about 10 commandos.
You can find out more information on the SMX-25 on the SCNS website