China says new supersonic sub would reach San Francisco in 100 minutes

Illustration for article titled China says new supersonic sub would reach San Francisco in 100 minutes

China claims it has found a way to create a supersonic underwater vessel that could travel from China to San Francisco in less than two hours using new developments in supercavitation. This could be extremely useful for travel—but also for the development of underwater weapons. In fact, this is a military project.

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This technique was originally developed for Shakval, a torpedo capable of reaching 230 miles per hour (370 km/h) developed by the Soviet Navy during the Cold War. The size of the bubble and the speed was limited.

Now this new Chinese research claims they have found a way to generate a much bigger air bubble, drastically reducing friction of large underwater vessels. They say they would be able to create a full-size supercavitating submarine capable of reaching the speed of sound underwater—about 3603 mph (5,800km/h). That or a sneaky, big ass supersonic nuclear missile, of course.

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DISCUSSION

Skip all of the physics, skip all the practicality and economics, I only want one question answered - everyone knows that bird strikes are bad for airplanes. They cause extensive damage, can bring an airplane down in a hurry, and are some of the least dense animals on the planet. So, they're talking about making a submarine that can do airliner speeds (let's assume they can reach 1/6 the speeds they mention, which, they can't and they won't)... what happens when you "bird strike" a whale?