You will be able to identify with the fear of heavier-than-air aircraft. The same psychosis remains in the case of shipping. We would rather lose a major war than confront our continuing psychosis.


Lipschutz, 80 years old in 2,000, is trapped in promoting his U-plane, which has been ignored for fifty years. His other inventions are multifarious, and they and the U-Plane get in the way of his important social comment, which is touched on in the editorial of Ill Eagle 3, the bulletin I edit. - Ivor Catt, 14nov99

H Lipschutz, 42 Fontygary Rd., Rhoose,

Glam. CF62 3DS, U.K.


Dear Ivor,

The enclosed items are pretty good, even when seen with hindsight. Best probably is IDN, also as it goes to the defence industry world-wide and therefore cannot be ignored.

Also enclosed: 12-liner, Newsletter 1aug84, Choice of Variant, Sub versus 'U-Plane', and EWW, March 1988. Kind regards, Heinz.

[Send s.a.e. and 2 in stamps to Lipschutz, and he will send you more material.]



International Defence Newsletter August 1994

PO Box 28, Twickenham, Middx., England

Tel +44 (0)181 892 7471

Fax +44 (0)181 744 2704


'U' Planes - plumbing new depths

Captain Karl Heinz Lipschutz, a former British Airways pilot, has pioneered a new concept in submarine design to meet the growing need for underwater exploration and warfare.The constraints of conventional submarines in their depth capability are manoeuverability mean that their ability to operate successfully at great depths is limited. Deep salvage operationa at present require unmanned vehicles remotely controlled from the surface. The 'U' Plane concept offers the potential for manned submarine operations to take place at great depth.

The initial study, investigated by the University of Southampton Department of Ship Science, examines the concept of a research salvage submarine design with the capability of diving to an operating depth of 6000m and delivering/recovering a payload of up to 15 tonnes from the seabed. The depth of 6000m will make 95% of the ocean floor accessible for exploration and salvage.

The concept submarine does not use conventional ballast tanks for depth keeping, instead it has air trapped in tanks which are open to the sea at their lowes point. On the surface the submarine is positively buoyant and as it dives the air in the tanks compressed and eventually the submarine becomes negatively buoyant. Depth keeping is maintained by using wing surfaces which provide the downward diving force when positively buoyant and the lift force when the vessel is negatively buoyant.

There are two main proposed variants the 'U' Plane & the 'U' Lifter:

The 'U' Plane variant in which the part of the weight which exceeds that supported by buoyancy derived from displacement of the basic craft is supported mainly by dynamic lift provided by wings, rotors, body shape or jet thrust. This version is insensitive to variation in pressure and therefore best suited to operations which involve many or constant variations in depth; and which is normally stopped only when landed on the sea floor of when surfaced. Since the amount of ambient pressure is irrelevant it is the best choice for operations at very great depths such as military and sea floor surveyance at speed. At or near the surface a snorkel can be used for obtaining air for the inflation of buoyancy equipment for the purpose of full surfacing and parking.

This variant may use power when hovering, At great depth propeller noise is absent since cavitation at great pressure is reduced to an insignificant level. Further noise reduction can be obtained by the shrouding of propellers in advanced materials.

The 'U' Lifter variant in which the part of the weight (if any) which exceeds that supported by buoyancy derived from displacement of the basic craft is supported mainly by additional displacement derived from any number of artificial 'swimbladders' (or SCAB Units), inflated, when additional buoyancy is required, to the ambient pressure existing at the depth of operation of the craft. This variant is best suited for operations in which a constant depth is maintained for lengthy periods, or hovering where power expenditure is unnecessary. For great depth helium or preferably hydrogen (derived ideally from the surrounding water by means of electrolysis) can be used for inflation of additional swimbladders, (or SCAB Units), since at high pressure air is too heavy, due to the high atomic weight of nitrogen & oxygen.

Supporting the craft by wing lift is more efficient than by displacement alone when the speed is high i.e. above approx. 25-30 knots. When the speed is low buoyancy provides better support. Thus the Sea Lifter variant is better suited to salvage and the raising of heavy objects from the seabed.

Further variants can be derived from a combination of the two designs.

A project at Strathclyde University has already looked into the need for an Automated Underwater vehicle for surveying the ocean floor depths. An unmanned vehicle diving at these depths would be cheaper but its role restricted. The cost of the proposed variants would be outside the capabilities of many builders due to the large amounts of Titanium required for the pressure hulls. The demand for such vessels will continue to grow with the ever present demand for oil & mineral exploration at great depths. Manned vehicles will be needed in such cases as the recovery of black boxes from aircraft and ships. The military applications of both variants are enormous with special interest being expressed in the 'U' Lifter for the carrying of large cargoes underwater.

[This article omits the preferred design, which uses cheap concrete rather than titanium. Ivor Catt 14nov99]

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