Military Wiki

Ushakov's Flying Submarine

A flying submarine or submersible aircraft is a craft able both to fly and to travel under water.


The Soviet Union tried to develop a flying submarine during World War II. The design could have operated at 150 knots in the air and 3 knots in the water. Metal plates sealed the engines shut. At the Naval Engineering Institute, a flying submarine project was headed by engineer Boris Ushakov. In 1939 the project was temporarily suspended and classified. In 1943, on the orders of NKVD chief Lavrenti Beria, the project was resumed. In 1947 the first test of the flying submarine was performed. In 1953, the project was closed by order of Communist Party First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev. The design never "got off the ground".[1]

In 1961 Donald Reid designed and built a single-seat craft (32.83 ft length) capable of flight and underwater movement, the Reid Flying Submarine 1 (RFS-1[2]). A 65 hp (48 kW) engine mounted on a pylon provided propulsion for flight; a 1 hp electric motor in the tail provided underwater propulsion. The pilot used an aqualung for breathing underwater. The first full-cycle flight [underwater at 6.5 feet (2 m) depth, airborne at 33 ft (10 m) altitude] was demonstrated on 9 June 1964.[3] Reid, his craft, and his son (the test pilot) appeared on the U.S. game show "I've Got A Secret" on March 15, 1965.

In 2008, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced that it was preparing to issue contracts for a submersible aircraft.[4][5][6][7][8]

Flying subs in fiction

A flying submarine was a feature in:

  • Master of the World (1904) by Jules Verne
  • The Flying Submarine (1912) by Percy F. Westerman
  • Tom Swift and His Diving Seacopter, the seventh book of the second series.
  • TV series
  • Inspector Gadget
  • The Japanese Toho Studios film Atragon.
  • The Mighty Jack from the Japanese Tsuburaya Productions TV series of that name.
  • The 2001 Steven Spielberg film A.I. Artificial Intelligence ("Amphibicopter")
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  • The Incredibles
  • The Three Stooges in Orbit features a vehicle made by a lone inventor which is a combination submarine, tank, helicopter and spaceship.
  • The Gerry Anderson series Supercar, the car itself was a hovercraft, aircraft and submarine.
  • The Gerry Anderson series UFO features the SkyDiver, an aircraft which was launched from a submarine.
  • In the game Red Alert 3 the fictional Empire of the Rising Sun uses flying submarines (ironically, anti-aircraft capable when on water and anti-ground when airborne) as part of their army.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Hasbro, the related animated series and Marvel & Devils Due Comics) regularly featured the SHARK attack submarine, which was capable of air and submersive assaults. The range of these flight varied through the media (originally, it was stated that the shark could make only short range "leaps" and attacks, but the cartoon and comics later "forgot" this. In "G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra" the SHARK was featured in the final battle, but the movie model varied greatly from the comics and cartoon model, and its flight mode was not established in the movie.
  • Code Geass features a Knightmare Frame, called the Shinkirō. It is capable of transforming into both a Submarine and an Aircraft.
  • A wide variety of flying submersible craft can be found in the X-COM: Terror from the Deep video game.

See also


  1. Russian Flying Submarine Unknown, Date Unknown (accessed 21 January 2007)
  2. BERNHARD C.F. KLEIN COLLECTION, "Reid RFS-1", No. 6559. Reid RFS-1 (N1740) ; (accessed 12 July 2010)
  3. see Reid, Ashbury Park NJ (subheading)
  4., DARPA Plans to Develop "Flying Submarine", 8 July 2010 (accessed 12 July 2010)
  5. DARPA, "Submersible Aircraft Proposers' Day Conference" (accessed 12 July 2010)[dead link]
  6. Federal Business Opportunities, "Submersible Aircraft Proposers' Day Conference" (accessed 13 June 2013)
  7. DARPA, "Submersible Aircraft" (accessed 12 July 2010)[dead link]
  8. New Scientist, "From sea to sky: Submarines that fly", 5 July 2010, Paul Marks (accessed 12 July 2010)

Further reading

  • The Flying Submarine: The Story of the Invention of the Reid Flying Submarine, RFS-1 by Bruce Reid, ISBN 0-7884-3136-6

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).