Phibs gets back from work and gets all excited about a new gadget.
Caveat: This hits a weak spot. I used to be on a boat with tubes that didn’t necessarily hold missiles, and there was room for *all kinds* of stuff. I get the idea that a ship is a moving box where you put stuff, and putting different kinds of stuff into the box (how about this with a payload?) can be a good thing. I’ve seen some great ideas related to this (for example) in the past fifteen years or so that I won’t discuss on this circuit. Note: I’m a biased opinion.
I see two critiques, one technological, one operational.
Technical risk is clearly nonzero. Although we and other navies had planes on boats in WWII, space limitations kept the craft payload and range down, and the three different environments (undersea, surface, air) means lots of trouble. In WWII they solved part of the problem by launching surfaced (as we did with rockets from Barb to the Japanese mainland, and later with Loon, and with Regulus, the predecessor to today’s Trident missiles). The vertical-to-horizontal thing is common to almost anything you put in the tube, no matter where the gadget goes when it’s launched (undersea, land, surface, subsurface). The craft has to be pretty rugged to survive seawater, launching, pressure, and flying. It can be done, but it’s going to be high technical risk and compromises might make the thing not useful. The idea sounds like a critter on the evolutionary path of things I’ve seen for a while.
The sub, if you’re thinking of it as a box of stuff that moves around, can seed sensors and other things into a conflict’s environment before anyone else friendly is there. An airborne patrol gadget is another one of the possible gadgets. The weak point today is in the technological maturity of the things you would use to seed the environment, because of limitations on capability which over the last decade have been lifted some.
To mitigate the technical risk for all the gadgets, and to get useful new stuff on ships quicker, the submarine force gave a guy at NAVSEA control over some money and a direction from a four star to field whatever can fit on a ship in a matter of months and be usable for an exercise, and see what happens. That was a useful process of weeding out the vaporware and the not-quite-yet and the “oh geez that didn’t work right”, and was done at least twice with very productive results that I know of (before I left the submarine force).
Operational risk will be in the tasking and the tactics. Inserting things and people from in the boat to somewhere else can be done even if it isn’t perfectly stealthy all the time. There is a risk versus gain to deal with that can be mitigated in a pretty well-known thought process. The devil’s in the details of where you want to use it, whether it’s on the ship when you need it, the capability you’re up against, and the constraints/restraints. I’ve done it and it can be done. I won’t necessarily want to do it in sea state zero with a fishing boat on top of me and weapons pointed at me quicker than I can reposition if I want the gadget and me to live, but it can be done.
Chap’s bottom line? I’d give it as much a chance to survive as anything else that far below milestone 1. Team Sub had at one time a good way of vetting what worked. The utility is not a niche but not necessarily a killer app, either.