How useful would a unsinkable ship be?

shin_getter

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How to make a ship not sink: Simply make it out of solids less dense than water!

Ok, that is not a new idea, see Habakkuk. (or wood) However the idea seems under-explored.

Some basic issues:
1. Low density materials as useless mass that just increase the demand on propulsion
- Having the payload be low density solids is a way to do this. One useful payload of a ship like this would be solid hydrocarbon fuels. Not sure if there is a way to convert solid into liquid without huge reaction plant.
- The other basic use of low density solids is as structure material. Some pitches for application of metal foams had this, not sure how effective it'd be in practice.
2. Low density materials take up huge volume
- If the ship is not stealth, just have huge volume above the waterline.

Now, a "unsinkable" ships can still be defeated by destruction of subsystems, fire or shattering of the hull. It takes some thinking about role that this kind of design would fit into.

Just to start with the original idea: A solid fuel tanker that have well protected propulsion deep underwater, designed to be tow friendly and have strong fire suppression capability. This should greatly increase total warhead size required to kill relative to a conventional design.

*imagine, a whole army that runs on butter because logistics~
 
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