Flying submarine envisaged in RN challenge

26 Oct 2017

Flying fish-styled defence system

A futuristic flying fish-styled defence system for the Royal Navy, was envisaged by Saab Seaeye systems engineer, Ali Roy. With defence dangers acute at the waterline, she designed an organic shaped concept with the nimble agility to both fly and swim - to avoid detection or pursue a quarry.

The UK's brightest and most talented young engineers and scientists came up with varied and futuristic designs after being challenged by the Royal Navy to imagine what a future submarine would look like and how it would be used to keep Britain safe in decades to come.

The young British scientists and engineers were gathered together under FutureNest, an offset of UKNEST, a not-for-profit forum that promotes the engineering, science and technology interests of UK Naval Defence.

Along with Ali Roy’s flying concept, there was a crewed mothership shaped like a manta ray, unmanned eel-like vessels equipped with sensor pods which dissolve on demand to avoid enemy detection, and fish-shaped torpedoes sent to swarm against enemy targets.

Commander Peter Pipkin, the Royal Navy's Fleet Robotics Officer, said: "With more than 70 per cent of the planet's surface covered by water, the oceans remain one of the world's great mysteries and untapped resources.”

"It's predicted that in 50 years' time there will be more competition between nations to live and work at sea or under it. So it's with this in mind that the Royal Navy is looking at its future role, and how it will be best equipped to protect Britain's interests around the globe.”

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: "These remarkable designs display the great promise of our young engineers and scientists and the great ambition of the Royal Navy." 

"This kind of innovation is at the heart of defence and the UK's world-leading capability. That's why we are using our rising budget to invest in high-tech capability to keep our Armed Forces at the cutting-edge, and our £800 million Innovation Fund aims to take advantage of exactly these kinds of futuristic ideas."

Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, said that the ideas proposed were the most important he had seen.