While the thought of a flying submarine might seem completely ridiculous to most people, it has been done. Way back in 1962 nonetheless. Donald Reid, a US defense contractor and also an early R/C submarine enthusiast built the RFS-1 using parts from salvaged aircraft and other assorted components.
It wasn’t a high-tech machine, despite its abilities. In the air it was powered by a 65 horsepower four-cylinder Lycoming engine. While underwater a 1-horsepower electric motor provided propulsion. Conversion from aircraft to submarine was a clumsy affair. The pilot first had to remove the propeller, and then cover the engine pylon with a rubber diving bell to keep the engine dry. The pilot used an aqualung to breathe. Maximum depth was roughly 10 to 12 ft (3.5 metres).
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Researchers have accidentally found the wreckage of a World War 2 era Japanese ‘super-submarine’ off the coast of Hawaii. The “Sen-Toku” I-400 class submarine is resting at a depth of 2,300 ft (700 metres).
The sub was sank in 1946 by the US Navy as target practice, and also to prevent the vessel being captured by the Soviet Union. When it was built it was the largest subarine the world had ever seen (more than double the size of US subs at the time), and it wasn’t until the 1960s and the arrival of nuclear-powered submarines that a larger sub was built.
It was 400 feet (122 metres) long, and amazingly it could also carry three specially-designed aircraft in a hangar located along the top of the vessel. It could launch the aircraft using a compressed air catapult, and retrieve the float planes from the water using a small crane. In addition the I-400s had 8 torpedo tubes, one large 14cm naval gun, and four 25mm machine guns.
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At the 2013 Monaco Boat Show, Italian designer Pierpaolo Lazzarini showed up with a curious watercraft called the Jet Capsule. It’s basically a highly compact and versatile vessel which its creator says is a “mini yacht”. The vessel is built in the Italian port city of Naples by the company Jet Capsule S.r.l.
The Jet Capsule features a composite carbon fiber hull and a hydro-jet propulsion system. It can be fitted with either one or two (petrol or diesel) engines, with power output ranging from 315 to 800 hp. An electric-powered version is also being worked on. On board, the Jet Capsule features a covered deck and seating area which accommodates up to eight passengers. There are also automatic closing doors, a rooftop sunbed, a rear diving platform, a convertible bedroom, toilet and it can even be customized to include a kitchen. The company have also developed a number of alternative uses for the Jet Capsule, ranging from an armored military version, to a DJ booth-equipped party version.
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Ferruccio Lamborghini’s custom made Riva Aquarama powerboat has just been restored to its original condition, complete with the twin 4.0 litre Lamborghini V12 engines, each producing 350 horsepower. Dutch specialists Riva-World undertook the restoration of the 45-year old boat after tracking down the almost-forgotten vessel and rescuing it from under an old tarpaulin. The restoration has taken three years, and involved numerous cross-continent trips to document and record elements of the boat using photographs from the Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum.
The wooden hull was repaired, sanded and no fewer than 25 coatings were applied. The wooden interior was repaired and the seats were reupholstered in the famous Riva design, all the buttons and switches were disassembled, repaired and reinstalled, and all the chrome parts shine like new.
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Milan is over 100 miles from the nearest sea. Strange then that a submarine appears to have surfaced in the middle of the city. There can be only two explanations for this event. One. Milan has a massive sewer system which is capable of being navigated by subs. Or two. Somebody’s been getting creative at the ad agency.
Of course it’s two. Milan-based agency M&C SAATCHI have placed a fiberglass submarine codenamed #L1F3 onto the streets of the city and surrounded it by what looks like broken concrete and an unlucky SMART car. To add to the realism, there are firemen (actors) who look to be trying to extract the sub, and even a hapless crew sitting bemused in the conning tower!
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At this year’s Monaco Yacht Show, Feadship Royal Dutch Shipyards unveiled their concept superyacht designed specifically for the Dutch royal family. Feadship have some extensive history when it comes to making yachts for the worlds most priveliged throne-sitters. In the past Feadship have created vessels for the Shah of Persia, the Saudi Royal fmaily, and in 1937 they manufactured a yacht which was a wedding present given to the Dutch Princess Juliana and her new husband Prince Bernhard.
This new luxury mega yacht, called the Feadship Royale has been created for King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, who came to the throne earlier this year. Feadship say the Royale concept was created to serve two distinct purposes: act as a home-away-from-home for the royal family, and provide a way of showcasing Dutch industry via hosting trade missions around the globe.
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The London Moto Group’s Super Car Workshop has just completed their first ever marine project. The vessel, a 38-ft Wellcraft Scarab called Noire, is on display at the PSP Southampton Boat Show. Refurbished inside and out at the Super Car Workshop in London, Noire is a 1997 Scarab, purchased by London Motor Group CEO, Elo, in Miami in 2008. It was the fastest offshore powerboat of its time and is still arguably the quickest craft of its kind in the UK, powered by two 502-cubic-inch Mercury V8 engines, each developing 450 horsepower.
Noire’s customisation has been sympathetic to its decadent 1980s heritage – the same model starred in Miami Vice – whilst updating the powerboat for modern tastes. Outside, the bow has been completely decked in non-slip Flexiteek and the hull wrapped in a matt-grey-over-black finish, with a striking red stripe and canopy colour-matched to a Ferrari 458.
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Russian sunseekers happily relaxing on Mechnikovo beach, near Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, had their peace and quiet rudely disturbed by a 500-ton Zubr-class military hovercraft – currently the largest hovercraft in the world. The Zubr-class of hovercraft is quite frankly massive. Within its 400 square meter cargo area it can carry three main battle tanks, or 500 troops. It has a range of armament including missile launchers, rocket launchers and a whole load of very nasty machine guns. In short, not what you want to see when you’re sitting around in Speedos.
Apparently when this particular Zubr came ashore a whole load of marines jumped out and began to order everyone off the beach. Reports suggest the marines were less-than-polite in the way they asked people to leave. Although to be fair, trying to drive a 500-ton hovercraft over them was probably worse.
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The ASAP watercraft is an electric-powered personal watercraft which has been specifically designed to assist lifeguards in getting to swimmers in trouble as soon as possible.
The ASAP water rescue craft is smaller, lighter and cheaper than conventional jetskis, meaning that more lifeguarding stations can afford to operate the vehicle. Of course it’s no substitute for a powerful jetski in large swells or when the swimmer (or swimmers) are far away from shore. However for rescues closer to the beach – but far enough out that paddling on a recue board or simply swimming would waste valuable time – the ASAP would be ideal.
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Now this might just look like someone’s far-fetched idea. Brilliant but unrealised. But in fact this ship is already under construction in the Archtech Shipyard in Helsinki, Finland.
The design of the Artech Baltika uses an asymmetric hull. Which means that when it’s on icebreaking duty it can be piloted sideways, making a much wider path through the ice than if it just went head-on. A typical icebreaker cuts a path roughly 25 metres (80 feet) wide – enough for most vessels – however too small for large container ships, meaning more than one icebreaker is needed to escort the cargo vessel. The Artech Baltika should be able to do the work of two icebreakers for the cost of one.
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