HMAS Icarus: NACNAV's Leviathan
10 August 2017
Perhaps I didn’t properly emphasize my love for my stupid little inventions. In this case I use the descriptors “Little” and “Stupid” with sarcasm (excuse me while I beam at my own pretentiousness). In this blog I want to talk about perhaps to oldest of my inventions featured in “The Chaotic Destiny” series: His Majesty’s American Ship Icarus, SSVN-001. The Icarus is a submersible (SS), aviation carrying (V), nuclear powered (N) vessel. In short it is a submarine aircraft carrier, a big one.
As early as the seventh grade I was rolling this idea around the noggin. I can’t remember the exact reason I wanted to run with this concept. I was a sponge for any information on military hardware at the time and far less inhibited by “reality.” However, the inevitable injection of the aforementioned destroyer of childhood dreams did not dampen this idea, probably because it is mildly preposterous. By the time I was developing TCD, the idea has matured into a form I could begin to describe as doable, to include a conceptual design amateurishly slapped together in AutoCAD.
As I subtly eluded to, the Icarus is a very large craft. Here are some basic specs.
Displacement: 60,000 tons, surfaced; 82,000 tons, submerged. Length: 802 feet. Beam: 100 feet.
A single long pressure hull occupies most of the sub’s length for the bottom five (of ten) decks. This pressure hull is pierced by the aircraft elevator bank forward of the hanger deck. The elevators raise aircraft to the flight deck, which occupies the aft 600 feet of Deck 5. During flight operations (Operating Condition Green), the Icarus surfaces, bringing itself half-way out of the water. At this point, the six after dorsal sections of the hull peel away, allowing for launch and recovery of aircraft. As soon flight operations are complete, the hull closes back up, reseals itself, and the boat slips back beneath the waves. Under ideal conditions, a flight ops cycle for a typical operation like CAP swapping (launch of alert CAP F306 followed by recovery of the on station F306) can be accomplished in under one minute.
Currently (as of “The Last Immortal”) Icarus can embark one of the two squadrons of F306C “Werewolf” at a time. There are operational scenarios where she could sustain both squadrons (NACAF 561 Sq “Scimitars” and 920 Sq “Rapiers”) for a limited time. A typical cruise entails 6-8 months of Icarus lazily creeping up and down the Atlantic seaboard, launching and recovering Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) and passively listening for trouble. After each cruise, Icarus returns to the barn for a maintenance cycle (normally two weeks) and a crew swap. The NAC Navy (NACNAV) maintains two entire crews (Red and White) to maximize at-sea time and crew efficiency. Once back to sea, Icarus embarks her operational squadron, homebased at Maxwell AFB, near Montgomery, and starts her next cruise.
In the TCD world, she is really old; nearly 120 years. Icarus started life as a privately funded experiment before the Lythangaard invasion. As the invasion began to cost the US Navy its large carrier vessels, the SSVX project was accelerated, with the intention that the vessel might fill the role of a stealthy LHA-type hull. She was commissioned as the USS Icarus in the year 10 BBC, sailing from her specially built dock in Mobile, Alabama, where she is still homeported. Her original complement was two squadrons (24 total) of F35B’s, four CH53K’s, four MV22B’s, and a short regiment of fleet marines. She spent her first eight years patrolling the eastern seaboard. The two years leading up to the Battle of Copenhagen saw Icarus secretly transporting American shock troops to the assembly area, ultimately contributing to the victory with a diversionary cruise missile attack on the Kola Peninsula.
Three short years after the end of the Lythangaard War, the Pan-Pacific War kicked off. This was a bloody Air-Sea campaign between North American and East Asian nations. Icarus was kept in the Atlantic, partially to maintain a protective watch over the East Coast, but mostly because it was unknown whether she could transit to the Pacific. Most remaining blue water support vessels in the Atlantic surged to the Suez Canal or Cape Horn (Panama Canal was critically damaged in Lythangaard War), leaving Icarus on her own. At the end of the Pan-Pacific War, Icarus was the only operational vessel in the world larger than a corvette.
Icarus returned to Mobile for a massive refit in 16 ABC. Besides being torn apart, with nearly every section and surface being refurbished, her two S10G nuclear reactors were upgraded and enhanced. The first generation seaborne WHIP boosters were installed to give Icarus the ability to operate a squadron (eight aircraft) of the new sixth-generation F306. Her hanger deck, jet fuel bunkers, and infantry barracks were all shrunk or eliminated to fit the new mission profile the Icarus was expected to carry out. Additionally, her hanger deck was remounted to be modular, allowing mission specific modules to be swapped out in a matter of days; if necessary. She was recommissioned HMAS Icarus in 21 ABC and mainly patrols the Atlantic, providing CAP as well as the occasion CAS mission in support of NAC Special Forces.
There it is, just the tip of the iceberg of one of my stupid little inventions. There will more posts like this to come, as there are many of these inventions in my writing.
Thanks for stopping by!