Nov 4

1st Seaplane Launch From Submarine

Thursday, November 4, 2010 7:37 AM


Following WW1, the Navy began experimenting with the possibility of submarine observation and scouting aircraft; S-1 became the experimental platform for this project, late in 1923. She was altered by having a steel capsule mounted aft the conning tower; a cylindrical pod which could house a small collapsible seaplane, the Martin MS-1. After surfacing, this plane could be rolled out, quickly assembled, and launched by ballasting the sub until the deck was awash. The first successful attempt was made on November 5th 1923.

Martin MS-1

Quick Assembly on Sub S-1

S-1 beginning to submerge


  • Jim Valle

    Late in WWII the Imperial Japanese Navy built a sub large enough to carry a float plane in a watertight hangar. The plane was mostly intended to carry bombs. The problem with the concept was that they needed a very large and elaborate submarine to deliver just a few bombs and the prospect of doing much damage was essentially nil. Berthed alongside the USS Intrepid in Manhattan is a guppyized Gato Class sub with a hangar for a Regulis (sp?) missile. Probably this is the last incarnation of the “launch from submarine” concept pioneered by the S-1.