Air Force Research lab demonstrates turning fighter jet into submarine

EGLIN AFB – The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has shown it can turn a fighter jet into a submarine.

Well, somehow.

On Thursday, somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico, the AFRL—along with the 780th Test Squadron of the 96th Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base and the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron of the 53rd F-15E Strike Eagle-launched surface-to-surface Rocket.

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The missile was used in a new application under development in the AFRL called QUICKSINK, in which an aircraft-launched munition is deflected into the water to detonate beneath a ship rather than detonating on or in the ship itself.

A video screen in a control room at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base shows a 200-foot surplus seagoing vessel in the Gulf of Mexico hitting 21 targets in a demonstration of the QUICKSINK effort.  The April 21 demonstration had to be canceled before completion, but QUICKSINK was successfully demonstrated in the Gulf on Thursday.

When a munition explodes under a ship’s keel, “you’re better able to couple the energy to the target,” Kirk Herzog, the AFRL’s program manager for QUICKSINK — which includes a partnership with the Navy — said in a media briefing in Eglin days before the successful Thursday demonstration.

In layman’s terms, Herzog means that the pressure of the water being explosively forced into the ship’s keel does more damage – including the likelihood of the ship sinking entirely – than an explosion on or within the ship.