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Aerojet SES-100A

flateric

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I'll really appreciate your help in finding pictorial information and technical drawings/cutaways of the thing from the open press. Thank you.
 
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joncarrfarrelly

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Hi Gregory,
Jane's Surface Skimmers:Hovercraft & Hydrofoils 1976-77 has some photos and a GA drawing consisting of front and rear views along with a centreline drawing, the book also includes a small cutaway, but that's about it I'm afraid.

BTW, I have Surface Skimmer Systems 1967-68, Surface Skimmers: Hovercraft & Hydrofoils 1972-73 and Surface Skimmers: Hovercraft & Hydrofoils 1976-77. The Bell SES projects are covered very well, compared to the Aerojet and Rohr projects.

Jon
 

sferrin

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The Encyclopedia of Weapons and Warfare has a picture of one launching a Standard off a vertical rail. BTW sometimes you can get this series on ebay. If you can get your hands on it it's full of tons of interesting information. A coworker of mine got the whole series for something like twenty bucks plus shipping a couple years back.
 

flateric

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Thank all of you for kind efforts to help!
Search in two largest country libraries ended with no success. They were either thrown away, or just never were there. They only have Jane's Surface Skimmers: Hovercraft & Hydrofoils 1982-83.
 
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joncarrfarrelly

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Hi Gregory,

I'll scan the stuff from the Jane's Surface Skimmers:Hovercraft & Hydrofoils 1976-77.

Cheers, Jon
 
J

joncarrfarrelly

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Hi Gregory,

Here is the stuff from the Jane's. Let me know if you want larger versions of the files.

Cheers, Jon
 

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flateric

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Jon, I own to you bottle of good Stolichnaya! Thank you very, very much - this was one of my childhood obsession machines (definitely don't know why was it SES-100A, not-B)
 

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Wow! I was informed of this thread by swimmer1. He and I worked for Aerojet back in 1973-4 as scuba divers in Sitcum Waterway in Tacoma, Washington. I was 18, then turned 19 during this time. We had many adventures, from spending literally hundreds of hours working on rigging and air bags under the testcraft, to training missions, to finding parts dropped off the pier by our august band of technicians. We even got to jump out of a helicopter into the Straits of Juan De Fuca during a storm when the testcraft hit a log at about 40 knots with a bunch of senators and high ranking Navy personnel on board, using long screwdrivers to pry out splinters of wood that were restricting intake flow of water for the waterjets. We received letters of commendation for that, a write up in the company newspaper and free beer. Did I mention I was I was 19? Probably the best and most adventurous job any young man could have, Aerojet treated us both right in retrospect. The photos in the thread are interesting, the ones with the raised covers over the engine bays are later than the one with no covers. Also, this was a 100 ton craft, built in Tacoma, WA, at Tacoma Boatbuilding Co., long since deceased. The 100B was built in Louisiana by Bell Aircraft, utilizing some different technologies to see which was more efficient. These ships were going to be the precursors to the 100 knot Navy, but got smacked in the teeth by the first gas crisis during the time I was there.

The 100A utilized thin catamaran type sidewalls to provide stability as it ran through the water. There was a "bow seal" (seen in black in the photos) on the front to contain air pumped under the vessel to provide lift, then tilt back underneath as it hit waves to reduce drag. In the stern was a similar rubber membrane wall which performed the same function as the bow seal, with the difference that it had several adjustible sheets of aluminum to provide strength and prevent blowout of the cushioning air. This could be tilted to raise or lower the stern seal as a means to trim the ship. Visible on the photos, on the surface about 3/4 of the way back, are louvers, connected to barometric sensors, located under the hull, to direct these louvers to open and close as waves ran under the craft and thereby mitigating displacement of the air cushion. In this way, porpoising of the testcraft was reduced, providing a very smooth ride, and allowing speeds of up to 100+ knots.

Also visible on the cut away view, in the lower corner, is shown the portside engine room, where I began my adventure with Aerojet as an oil wiper. These spaces were inspected before every test run, literally with white gloves (this is TRUE!), to make sure nothing was ingested by the motors. We used to crawl around on these damn things while they were running occasionally, and subsequently, I'm a bit deaf today. OSHA didn't exist back then.

I see no one has been on this thresd for about a year, so I'll stop now to see if anyone is interested in anything else about the SES100A.
 

flateric

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swimmer1 and swimmer2, it's always wonderful to see men like you, who were directly involved in something fascinating, among us. Sincere thanks for an interesting story and welcome. You really had have a very interesting youngsters' time!
 

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Abraham Gubler

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swimmer2 said:
I see no one has been on this thresd for about a year, so I'll stop now to see if anyone is interested in anything else about the SES100A.

Yes, any insight you may have would be valuable. Especially anything about the follow on concepts for the 100 knot navy... (now soon to be a 40 knot navy thanks to LCS and JHSV).
 

flateric

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...and surely SES-100A was much more sexy than Bell-Textron's SES-100B one...
 

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RP1

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Interesting to read about the pressure control vents. I wondered how they stopped the cobble-stone effect.

Especially anything about the follow on concepts for the 100 knot navy

IIRC this lead to the "3K SES", a 3000 ton SES ASW frigate.

RP1
 

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Nice cutaway of the 100B. That vessel utilized rather thick, planing hulls in a catamaran type configuration with the front and rear seals to contain air to provide lift. The flat bottom of those hulls was to provide a planing surface to see if it, instead of the knife edge hulls of the 100A, was faster, and also to determine if they helped increase load bearing abilities. Also, instead of steerable nozzle water jets, the 100B used twin propellers, rather in the shape of a sunflower, that were designed to supply thrust while only half submerged, without cavitation.

I believe the 100A was faster. I don't know about load carrying differences, if any.

Someone asked if there were any follow on designs for this technology, and in Tacoma, there are two fireboats using the knife edged SES configuration to this day, along with the waterjets for propulsion. The downside was that their building was outsourced to England, rather than being built in this area, utilizing some of the excellent skilled craftsmen who were still of working age at that time. These fireboats are roughly 50-60 feet long, whereas the 100A was 40 fett wide by 80 feet long. These craft are also fiberglass in construction, rather than aluminum. They are yellow. But I'm not sure if that affects function or not :0)

I'm lobbying to get swimmer1 to blog and post some excellent photos of the testcraft from back in the day, along with some shots of the capazons and octopi we caught and ate during our travels up and down Puget Sound.
 

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i was in navy at patuxent river in the late 70's and crewmember on the XR1-D, 100B and 100A. I have a few one of a kind pictures and had a ball on them. We went out on the XR1-D during the winter of 78 , hit ice and blew a hole in the seal and hull, causing it to sink and we managed to keep it afloat long enough to tow back in and repair. We were ordered to abandon ship but I wasn't too swift on jumping in the chesapeake bay in an exposure suit while waitiing for a helicopter. they gave me one try to get the pumps going and primed while we got towed in. Secretary of Navy gave us a meritorious commendation for it. then in 1980 we set the speed record for guiness book of records.
 

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i have a big selection of them mostly on chesapeake bay. was on xr1 twice, 100a once, and 100b twice. quite advanced at their time and i was a snot nosed ET3. the model on sd model makers that they sell is a picture of the original i had made about 8 years ago, took them about a year to do, now is a cad file somewhere. i had a great time though and lots of good friends both civilian and enlisted. Our commander was i believe a mustanger and one of the best i had in my relatively short 5 year career, most time we were waiting for bad weather to either get ready and go for any of them, but the 100A was more under Rohr marine.

like i said, some good pictures and lot of XR1 sinking and being towed back eventually by our chase boat which was a big bertram and a luhrs.
 

Abraham Gubler

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tsmero said:
like i said, some good pictures and lot of XR1 sinking and being towed back eventually by our chase boat which was a big bertram and a luhrs.

If you've got the time please scan and post any pictures you may have. Be awesome to see. But if not thanks for the stories anyway. Always great to hear from a first hand view.
 

covert_shores

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To the Aerojet guys, this is tangential but if you have any knowledge/memories of the SDV /Minisub projects I'd love to hear. Have written a fair amount about the firm in Covert Shores but didn't have any form-side sources
 

sferrin

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flateric said:
...and surely SES-100A was much more sexy than Bell-Textron's SES-100B one...

Speaking of. . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3wUPicbgg8
 

flateric

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...
 

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circle-5

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jcf

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The SE-100B set a speed record of 91.9 knots (105.685mph) that still stands, the SES-100A never came close,
it's top speed, after extensive redesign and modifications, including losing the pointed bow and wider side-hulls
similar to those of the SES-100B, was apparently 76 knots (87.4 mph), apparently, because, unlike the SES-100B,
documentation of the tests and test results is spotty and contradictory.

The SES-100A in its original configuration was very unstable in comparison to the SES-100B, the rigid-planer seal
CAB (Contained Air Bubble) design did not work as well as the side-wall hovercraft based design of the SES-100B.
After the SES-100A plowed-in during test in 1973, the rigid planer-seal arrangement was abandoned and replaced
with a bag and finger skirt, and the 'artificial stability skis' and 'steering skegs' were also removed. The final series
of modifications during 1974-75, included the installation of a redesigned planer seal system on a now blunt bowed
hull, as stated above the entire pointed bow structure was removed and the side-hulls widened, and the submerged
inlet pods for the water jets were replaced with a flush inlet system. This was the configuration that attained the
highest speeds for the SES-100A.

The SES-100B met all the program requirements, the SES-100A did not.

- info paraphrased from High-Speed Marine Craft: One Hundred Knots at Sea, Peter J. Mantle, Cambridge University Press 2015.

The biggest mystery is why the clearly superior Bell craft was not picked as the model for 3KSES, rather than the
flawed SES-100A design. My personal feeling is it was a matter of Not Invented Here Syndrome as the Bell machine
built on the successes of the side-hull hovercraft concepts of Cockerell as developed by HoverMarine, advances in skirt
design made by Saunders-Roe/British Hovercraft Corporation, and Bell's experience building the BHC machines under
license, therefore the Bell design was probably "too British" for the powers that be in Washington.
 

jcf

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Not the SES-100A, rather the SES-100B launching an SM-1 missile on 8 April, 1976 while underway at 60.8 kts.

From Jane's Surface Skimmers 1976-77
 

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