|"Aesthetically," I like sails on submarines. But looking at torpedoes, and the US Navy's ASDS, I had to wonder how essential they are. As best I can tell, sails:
- store the periscope...
- and other equipment like radar and radios
- help keep the submarine upright? (I'm not sure of this one)
On the downside:
- they have to generate some drag (more water to push aside).
- they make the sub taller, so you have to dive deeper to hide.
But on modern (Virginia class) subs, the periscope has been replaced with a photonics mast, which doesn't have to run through the pressure hull. So ould a submarine get by without a sail, and (for example) moiunt the photonics mast, radar/radios, and snorkels in the ballast tanks? Or does the sail serve some other vital role I'm missing?
I'm guessing the end result would look a bit like the ASDS:
Only quite a bit bigger.