US Navy KAPPA submersible craft


Donald McKelvy
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14 August 2009
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Submersible Combatant Concept for Improved Littoral Warfare by John Leadmon et al., NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER CARDEROCK DIV BETHESDA MD (March 2004)

The current proliferation of low cost, low technology means of access denial raises the cost of U.S. power projection in many areas of the world. This problem is especially evident in the littoral environment, where enemy forces may employ a host of access denial methods including submarines, mines, small boats, and undersea sensor systems. These regions also exhibit maneuvering and navigational challenges such as underwater obstacles and civilian shipping vessels. Future naval platforms will rely heavily on the use of unmanned vehicles to more effectively perform their missions. While it is possible to deploy, support, and retrieve many of these unmanned vehicles from a high- end platform (e.g., SSN, SSGN), it is proposed that there may be a more efficient and cost effective means of managing these smaller vehicles and payloads. The KAPPA submersible craft concept, the result of a Carderock Division Naval Surface Warfare Center (CDNSWC) Innovation Center project, may be an effective, cost efficient force multiplier that can perform covert missions in littoral regions and austere ports, assist in providing and maintaining access, and support other joint assets. The KAPPA craft concept is a stealthy, highly maneuverable craft, with a modular payload volume and flexible ocean interface that acts as part of a cascading payloads chain for improved littoral warfare operations.
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Hi Triton, found this very well prepared paper back in September, couldn't find anything else on it. However, Virginia Tech performed at design study on a similar craft, see
having similar mission requirements
The SSLW requirement is based on the need for a technologically advanced, covert, and small submarine capable of entering the littoral area. Mission requirements include Special Forces delivery, extraction and support , mine laying and countermeasures, defensive ASW, Search & Salvage, and AUV support. The submarine is required to have multiple and flexible mission packages.

Other submersibles being pursued are the Joint Multi-Mission Submersible (JMMS) and Shallow-Water Combat Submersible (SWCS), and DARPA's Submersible Aircraft which was put on hold back in July, 2009 by the Congressional Budget Office.

I believe these are to replace the ill-fated Advanced Seal Delivery System (ASDS) which caught fire in Hawii back in 2006. They are also looking for another contractor to reengineer the ASDS.

The US Navy is using a shotgun approach to Littoral Warfare (Battlespace Preparation for Amphibious Operations), clandestine insertion and extraction
One of the interesting things about this concept is that it was intended to carry six AIM-9X missiles as part of it's self-defense suite. The paper that Triton linked to doesn't specify the deployment system but, based on what they showed of the design, it's likely they were planning on using Raytheon's BUPAL (Broaching Universal Buoyant Launcher) system rather than the rival Northrop Grumman SACS (Stealthy Affordable Capsule System).

Speaking of which, has anyone heard about any recent tests/work on either system?
Does anyone have any links concerning BUPAL and/or SACS including pictures?

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