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Real Life: Cool Boat

When men and women sailed the seas, using literal sails, there was still cool. These are examples of Epic Sails...

  • Viking Longships, capable of both crossing the ocean and sailing up rivers, carrying bloodthirsty pillagers, was a terrifying sight for European villages and cities for 200 years. Norsemen could also build one on a spot. With an axe.
  • The shores and ports of the Eastern Roman Empire (a.k.a the Byzantine Empire) were defended by Dromons, which were descendants of the old Roman Navy's Galleys. Like the Viking Longship, it has a dragon figurehead. Unlike Viking Longships, it's Dragon figurehead can actually breathe fire for use as a weapon.
    • The fire in question is the Greek Fire, which is basically a substance akin to flamethrower jelly but was rumoured to be unquenchable by water (dousing it with water was also reported to spread the flames). The Dromon deploys Greek Fire through a siphon, an invention that shoots the substance in a method not unlike the modern flamethrower.
  • Admiral Zheng He's fabled Treasure Ships during his Voyages for the Ming Dynasty. Essentially floating fortresses custom built for the Admiral's Grand Tour of a mission, it was a trade/cargo ship, a mobile embassy (Zheng He's flagship had a small Chinese palace for a bridge), an exploration vessel with smaller "life ships" for landing trade or troops, and also a warship with a fearsome array of cannon, ballistas, bomb-catapults and (considering this is China) rockets.
    • And there was a fleet of these ships. Who were also supported by lesser Chinese naval vessels during their mission.
    • The reason why Treasure Ships are quite multirole was due to Zheng He's primary mission: Diplomacy and establishment of trade ties with multiple peoples, kingdoms, and empires, some of which Imperial China contacts for the very first time. Think of it as a Chinese Enterprise, boldly going where no Chinaman has gone before. Perhaps the biggest thing afloat in Asia for its time.
      • In Asia? Try the world; considering that conservative estimates place them at 60m in length and most pass the hundred meter mark, it's safe to say that they were the biggest things afloat till the 19th century, when those crafty westerners learned to build ships from iron.
  • During the Japanese Warring States Period, Oda Nobunaga faced the Mori Clan, who were known to be adept admirals. Nobunaga, knowing how he has absolutely zero naval experience, sought to balance out the odds by launching Tekkosen, which was basically a Castle on a boat, ironclad at some parts, and armed with cannon. The Mori clan's purely wooden small-ships didn't stand a chance during the Battle of Kizukawaguchi, where Oda's Tekkosen were deployed.
  • The Korean Turtle Ship. Its a warship with spikes on the top of it. How awesome is that?
    • Admiral Yi's variant was not only fully closed, but the first known ship with iron armor and built for long-range cannon fire. And a smoke screen dispenser. And one cannon on the ram, to fire inside a breached hull after ramming. "Turtle ships" were faster and more maneuverable than one would expect, due to the combination of sails and oars as well as overall good design (based on a ramming ship and not too overloaded); the Japanese ships opposing them were faster, but didn't have long-range weapons and like most of their contemporaries relied mostly on boarding, so the "turtles" had enough opportunities to ram.
  • The galleasses fielded by Venice during the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Much less tactically agile than galleys, but with vastly superior firepower, the six galleasses deployed are between them reported to have disabled or sunk up to 70 of the Ottoman fleet of approximately 250 ships.
  • USS Constitution, better known as Old Ironsides, is the oldest ship still afloat, having been built in 1797. During the War of 1812, she sank several British ships, raising the morale of the Navy. The ship's hull was so strong that cannonballs bounced off her like she was Made of Iron, hence her nickname. Note that she's actually made of wood.
    • Constitution and her sister ships were designed to out match by a significant margin the Royal Navy's ships of the same class, and were built with reinforced hulls made of exceptionally hard southern live oak.
  • HMS Victory, flagship of Horatio Nelson, and the oldest vessel still commissioned in any Navy (but confined to dry-dock).
  • The legendary Nova Scotian schooner, Bluenose. Launched in 1921, for 17 straight years she was undefeated in any racing and fishing competitions she entered. She also starred in the 1933 Chicago World's Fair and George V's Silver Jubilee. Bluenose has been on Canadian dimes since 1937.
  • Cutty Sark, a tea clipper so fast it remained profitable to run well into the age of steam-powered boats.
  • SMS Seeadler ought to qualify. I mean seriously, a sailing warship in 1916?
  • There are still cool sailboats in the modern world; witness The Maltese Falcon (yes, her name includes the 'The'), which has a vintage Bentley as a coffee table decoration.
  • Don't forget the yacht America, a schooner so fast that after starting a 53 mile race with a fouled anchor, she won the race by 18 minutes. For the non sailing types, that's so far ahead of the pack that when the Queen of England asked who was in second place, the response was "There is no second, Your Majesty"

When steam came along, ships became cooler...

  • USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, the two famous "ironclad" boats from The American Civil War; when these two ships clashed, the fight only ended because they ran out of ammo, each having exhausted her magazines in futile attempts to damage the other.
    • You may have heard Virginia referred to incorrectly by the name 'Merrimack', which was the name of the Union ship on whose dredged-up bones CSS Virginia was built. However short-lived her commissioning nation proved to be, however reviled its cause or unhallowed its memory, simple respect demands Virginia be given her proper name.
  • The nuclear-powered USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was the eight naval ship to bear the name. The previous Enterprise (CV-6, often referred to as "The Grey Ghost" and "The Big E") remains the most decorated vessel in the history of the United States Navy, and one of the few carriers built before the war to fight to nearly the end — she was damaged by a kamikaze strike, and would have returned to action had the war not ended while she was in dry dock.
    • USS Enterprise (CV-6) had about the most badass crew in WWII; her her aircraft fought in the Battle of Pearl Harbor, and played a major role in the Battle of Midway. "The Big E" herself was one of many Yorktown-class carriers; the defining trait of her badassery is that, by 1943, she was the only American aircraft carrier still fighting in the Pacific Theater, in which aircraft carriers were the sine qua non of a meaningful naval presence. Her crew hung a sign on the flight deck: "Enterprise vs Japan". Enterprise won.
    • Enterprise also has the distinction of being the first fleet aircraft carrier equipped for night operations, and for proving just how invaluable they are. After being temporarily knocked out of commission during the Battle of Okinawa by a kamikaze pilot crashing into the ship's hull, Enterprise launched a night raid on the Kyushu, Sasebo, and Nagasaki air fields. The next day, her task force did not encounter a single kamikaze pilot.
      • If you were wondering why Roddenberry chose this ship's name to make famous — well, now you know.
    • Sadly, efforts to preserve CV-6 as a museum ship fell through, despite it being perhaps the most worthy ship of preservation ever. Instead, she met the ignominious fate of being torn up for scrap metal. And due to the sheer bulk of CVN-65's early nuclear reactors, removing them won't leave enough of a ship to preserve. There is, however, talk of removing her distinctive square island for preservation. Hopefully (unlike the broken promise by the Navy to preserve CV-6's tripod mast outside the Naval Academy football stadium), this will actually happen.
    • In honor of the late Enterprises(CV-6 and CVN-65) the third Gerald R. Ford class aircraft will named Enterprise, number 9 in the U.S. Navy to be named Enterprise
  • Turbinia, the first successful steam turbine powered ship. When built, she was the fastest ship afloat, capable of 34.5 knots. Her builder demonstrated this at the Spithead Naval review in 1897, when she arrived unannounced and buzzed the assembled warships before outrunning every picket ship sent to stop her. Theretofore, the Admiralty had seen no particular value or future in steam-driven ships; Turbinia's showing convinced them that all future ships would be powered by turbines, leading to...
  • HMS Dreadnought. Admiral Jackie Fisher was made head of the Royal Navy because he had a plan to economize on naval expenditure. That plan involved using submarines to defend against invasions, and projecting power by means of battleships larger and faster than anything else in service. Dreadnought was their prototype, and probably the most famous ship in the world until Titanic sank. Her arrival on the scene caused other nations with battleship construction programs to retool them more or less entirely; previous generations of battleships were collectively renamed "pre-dreadnoughts", and even today naval historians refer to the prewar years as the Dreadnought Era.
    • Not badass enough? HMS Dreadnought also carries the distinction of being the only battleship in WWI to sink a submarine - by ramming, no less.
  • One of the cooler dreadnoughts was the Queen Elizabeth-class battleship HMS Warspite, which, despite being a Floating Disaster Area, managed to distinguish herself fighting in both world wars. A good example of the Warspite's career would be her service at the Battle of Jutland, where she was attached to Admiral Beatty's battlecruiser squadron, sustained fifteen direct hits and nearly sinking, before having her steering jam while trying to avoid a collision with the Valiant. With her steering jammed, she ended up steaming in circles, drawing the fire of the German battlecruisers away from the badly damaged Warrior, whose crew were thus able to abandon ship. When the Warspite's engineers and damage control parties finally managed to regain control of her steering, they found themselves on a direct course for the German fleet, with only one turret still capable of operating, and central fire control and rangefinders all out of commission. Despite this, she was still able to fire twelve shots under local control before she was finally ordered to withdraw for repairs. She had a long and distinguished career after that, but her steering was never quite the same again.
  • Before aircraft carriers evolved into their current, more standardised, forms, one notable design was the converted Courageous-class cruisers, which had two separate decks: the hangar opened directly onto a shorter flying-off deck at the front of the ship, with a longer landing deck built on the floor above. At the same time, the Japanese carrier Akagi took this a step further, with three flight decks stacked above one another. The designs proved to be inefficient, but both win major cool points.
  • The Deutschland-class heavy cruisers of the Reichsmarine (later the Kriegsmarine). Due to restrictions imposed by the post-WWI Treaty of Versailles, the Germans basically did everything they could to pack a battleship's power onto a boat the size of a cruiser. While this resulted in a ship with several design compromises (such as relatively thin armor), its power and capabilities were so terrifying to the British that they started referring to the ships as "pocket battleships." The other ships of the class were called Admiral Scheer and the infamous Admiral Graf Spee (which, to cut a long story short, was scuttled by her captain to avoid what he thought would be a losing battle). Deutschland was later renamed to Lützow, in part to conceal from Allied intelligence that the under-construction cruiser Lützow had been sold to the Soviet Union during their very brief peace treaty with Nazi Germany and in part because having a ship named "Germany" get sunk would've been quite embarassing.
  • Though never passing beyond the experimental stage, the Habbakuk would have qualified in both senses, being a ship constructed out of ice.
  • Yamato. Largest battleship made (surpassed in military vessel size only by the Nimitz supercarriers), which automatically makes her a Cool Boat, even if she was sunk before causing much damage. Also, the anime Uchuu Senkan Yamato turned her into a Cool Starship, which has to earn some extra points.
  • The German battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz deserve a mention, too. Although not quite as big as Yamato, they were still larger and more heavily armed than nearly any Allied ship and terrorised the north Atlantic. After Bismarck was destroyed in battle against several British warships, Tirpitz retreated to a naval base in Norway, but she still scared the Allies British enough for them to stage an epic commando raid denying her access to a dry dock in France, and later a massive air raid in order to sink her; they succeeded, after hitting her with a dozen bombs so large that the craters left by a pair of misses today serve as artificial lakes.
    • Both qualify for "Awesome but impractical". It took the firepower of an entire fleet to take out the immobilized Bismarck, and bombs specifically designed for this purpose to sink the Tirpitz.
      • On the other hand, an entire fleet of submarines could have been built with the resources for just one of those ships...
    • They were a flawed design though, their 3 shafts gave less manoeuvrability than the 4 employed by all the other navies of the time, and the central shaft weakened the rear keel where it ran through it (in actual fact it was weak enough that the Bismarck's aft separated on the way down).
    • Bismarck stands out in memory for performing the feat of blowing up Britain's favorite battlecruiser, HMS Hood, almost before the battle had really started (luck played its part there, to be sure, and if a planned refit had been carried out Hood would've probably been able to give Bismark a good fightnote , but still) and for her own arguably heroic last stand against an overwhelming force only days afterwards — both on her very first actual mission. I'd like to draw a direct parallel to the Titanic, which is likewise remembered first and foremost for that tragic encounter with the iceberg on her maiden voyage...I think the fate of both ships captured the public imagination in a similar fashion. How well either might have done in practice if their respective careers had lasted longer doesn't really affect the myths built around them anymore.
  • The Iowa-class battleships, rather than going for the Awesome but Impractical that the Yamato turned out to be, were smaller, faster, and while not as extravagantly armed and armored as the better-known Japanese battleships, had plenty of weapons and armor for the war. It should be noted that Iowa class battleships were the only true battleships to be kept in serious service past World War Two, continually updated with new weapons. Still impractical nowadays, and they are now effectively retired, but no other ship in this section of the list, including the famed-but-terminally impractical Yamato, is still within decades of her last day of service.
    • The Iowa class were definitely as extravagantly armored as the Yamatos, just in a different way. Their design process considered money no object, with incredible results; while all other countries saved homogenous armor for key locations such as engines and the bridge, the Iowas were simply built of the world's finest homogenous armor. Then there's the superlative armor design. There's a reason that the penetration calculations for hits on the Iowas and Yamatos are surprisingly close. Add in their 16" rifles having the best armor-piercing shell in the world (about as good as the 18.1" shells on Yamato and Musashi), the only fire control system capable of letting the ship maneuver and fire at the same time (employing the Mark 1A Fire Control Computer), and an anti-aircraft suite to put anything else to shame, and they're at least equal, and quite probably far superior, to the 50% heavier Yamatos. They'd have been about equal surface combatants; the Iowas were hugely better in anti-aircraft action, and much better logistically — just imagine the fuel consumption of a 70,000 ton battleship, and what that does to her range and therefore her strategic value.
      • Couple of points to clarify. Fire control systems that enabled ships to simultaneously fire and manoeuvre had been fitted to ships since before WW1 - e.g. the Dreyer table. Most navies used a combination of face-hardened (for vertical surfaces such as belts and turret faces where shells would impact pretty much square on) and homogenous (for horizontal surfaces such as decks and turret roofs) armours on their battleships. The reason that USN battleships of this period used exclusively homogenous armour was that, due to the way it was manufactured, US face-hardened armour was VERY GOOD in thicknesses up to about 8", but much less effective in thicknesses greater than that, i.e. the kind of thicknesses you would use on the belt and turret faces of your pimping new battlewagon. So US designers decided to just use exclusively homogenous armour. See Bill Jurens' and Nathan Okun's work on this for more details.
      • ...I'll be in my bunk.
      • Had the planned Montana class been built, they would've combined the size of the Yamato with superior metallurgy and advanced gunnery of the Iowa class (including 12 16" guns instead of 9), all while still being slightly faster than the Yamato (though slower than the Iowas). Such a ship would've dismantled the Yamato in a one-on-one duel with little difficulty. But they existed only on paper, as well before construction would've started it became clear that aircraft carriers were the future of naval warfare.
  • The North Carolina-class battleships, particularly North Carolina herself. She was originally stationed in the Atlantic, so that she would be available to fight the Tirpitz. When the Tirpitz was a no-show (much to the crew's dismay, as they were looking forward to an opportunity to prove their ship's superiority), she was stationed to the Pacific, becoming the first new ship to arrive in the theatre since Pearl Harbor. From there she spent her first few months escorting Enterprise. During the Battle for Guadalcanal, the North Carolina laid down such an incredible amount of anti-air that the captain of Enterprise signaled to ask if she was on fire.
    • The North Carolina class also had arguably the best torpedo protection in the world; a different torpedo bulkhead design was implemented in the succeeding South Dakota and Iowa classes, but it was later discovered that this system was flawed and the aborted Montana was going to revert to the North Carolina version.
  • USCGC Taney, a Treasury-class cutter and the only surviving vessel that fought at Pearl Harbor. Currently enjoying an honorable repose, alongside the second USS Constellation and the World War II submarine USS Torsk, in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
  • The carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) surely has to qualify. She sustained three bomb hits, one of which punched right through the flight deck armor and killed sixty-six of her crew, and another twelve damage-causing near-misses at the Battle of Coral Sea — the first battle in which aircraft carriers directly opposed one another, and for that reason also the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other. Initial repair estimate: three months. Upon arriving in Pearl Harbour 18 days later the estimate had shrunk to two weeks in drydock. The yard dogs turned her loose 48 hours later to participate in the Battle of Midway. At Midway on June 4, she took three severe bomb hits but was back underway in a hour, just in time to receive two torpedo hits. With a 26 degree list, she was deemed unsafe and abandoned. A salvage party arrived June 6 to right the ship and were making good progress when two more torpedoes struck. Finally, a sinking destroyer's magazine exploded, blowing equipment off the ship, sending internal fixtures flying about, and breaking bones among the salvage party. The USS Yorktown finally sank on June 7, 1942 at 7:01 am before a second salvage attempt could be made. The near miraculous recoveries convinced the Japanese they had sunk a different, undamaged carrier three times (thus actually believing at first that Midway was at least a stalemate, and reporting home that Yorktown, Enterprise and Hornet had all been sunknote ); once at Coral Sea and twice at Midway. "The Fighting Lady" was one tough mother.
  • On the other side of the Pacific War, the IJN's Akizuki class destroyers. Designed to fight off air attacks, in addition to carrying the most lethal torpedoes in the world they also mounted eight superb guns and a sophisticated fire control system that enabled each ship to accurately fire up to nearly 170 4" shells per minute. Lots and lots of Dakka.
  • GTS Finnjet, the fastest conventional ferry ever built. Able to hit 33.5 knots on gas turbines and diesels, had a strengthened bow for handling sea ice. Legends abound of outrunning newer fast craft and rescuing an icebreaker during a particularly hard winter.
  • Two absurdly dangerous ships that don't receive much attention. The two first true minelayers, Amur and her sister-ship Yenisey (named after the rivers on Far East) carried 300 sea mines each, and at that time the Russian Empire probably had the best ones. The co-designer and captain of Yenisey built her to lay minefields while making 10 knots, a previously unheard-of capability; on that basis he proposed an offensive minelaying doctrine, relying on the class's speed to protect them while laying minefields to deny enemy ports. When these ships were designed, the Russo-Japanese war was inconceivable; the minelayers were intended as a weapon to "end the Great Game in checkmate" (together with the rest of Russian and allied Japanese fleet, of course) and most likely able to do it, not to hide in a port each morning. In the war for which they weren't made, minelayers accomplished little, but on 14 May 1904 Hatsuse and Yashima blew up and sunk in a minefield near Port Arthur, left by Amur on their patrol route — and that was two Japanese battleships more than the whole Russian fleet managed to destroy at Tsushima. This minefield was mere 1/6 of the Amur's full load and not quite the sort of tactics this ship was supposed to use.
  • The Italian Navy always got Awesome but Impractical capital ships (the cruisers were faster than anything in their tonnage but had little armor, and the battleships had the speed, heavy armor and more firepower than anything this side the American and Japanese World War II battleships but had very little range), but their torpedo boats... Well, during World War I the two best battleships of the Austrian Navy left the port to engage battle with one of them embarking a troupe to film their victory, and two torpedo boats popped out of nowhere and sank the other battleship so the troupe could record that instead.
    • Of course, torpedo boats in general are the reason that Destroyers exist at all (the name originated as a shortened version of "torpedo boat destroyer"), the latter originally being conceived to protect large, expensive battleships and cruisers from fast, torpedo-armed, and most importantly cheap torpedo boats. Many early destroyers were essentially giant torpedo boats, it having been decided that this was the most effective design for their mission requirements (it also allowed the destroyers to soften up enemy formations with torpedo attacks as well).
  • The destroyer USS Laffey definitely counts as this. During her service in the Pacific, she took damage from four bombs, six kamikaze crashes, and was set on fire, but still managed to survive, earning her the nickname, "The Ship That Would Not Die." Even then, she managed to get repaired and serve well into the sixties, and is now a museum ship at Patriot Point, North Carolina.
    • That was DD-724, the second USS Laffey. She was named after the original, DD-459, which was equally badass despite being of an older and much less effective design. When the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal began, the Laffey was at the front of the American column and practically right on top of a larger Japanese fleet including two battleships by the time the two sides noticed each other. Laffey immediately charged the closest battleship and fired off every torpedo and gun she had, including raking the bridge with her anti-aircraft machine guns as she passed by. While she was then surrounded by both battleships and a pair of destroyers, and sunk by a torpedo hit, by incapacitating the Japanese admiral in that opening salvo she caused the battle to degenerate into a disorganized brawl, which the Japanese ended up fleeing without accomplishing any of their mission objectives.
  • Good' ol Samuel B. Roberts. Heck, she's got the nickname, "The destroyer escort that fought like a battleship." She charged a heavy cruiser 11 TIMES HER SIZE(AKA Chokai), and beat her!
  • Arguably, Brunel's SS Great Eastern. OK, she was a commercial failure in terms of her intended role as a passenger ship, on the other hand she successfully laid the cables that for the first time enabled transatlantic telegraph communications between the US and UK, and her double-hull and generally ridiculously over-engineered design enabled her to brush off damage that was FAR worse than that which would sink the Titanic 50 years later. Also, she was 6 times bigger and twice as fast as any other merchant ship of her time - imagine if someone were to launch a 3 million ton, 90 knot supertanker these days and you'll get the idea!.

With guided missiles and nuclear power, we now have...

  • The Nimitz class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and the earlier USS Enterprise, the world's first such carrier.
  • The 50 Let Pobedy and the other ships of the nuclear-powered Russian Arktika class icebreaker are the red kings of the Arctic Ocean.
    • Hey hey hey. If you're looking for red kings, I got some red-hulled badasses for you. USCGC Polar Sea and Polar Star are a bit older than the 50 Let, falling apart with age, but they can break just as much ice. Or could, y'know, if they weren't falling apart.
  • The research vessel Chikyu Hakken - a Japanese geological research vessel that can drill 6000-metre-deep holes in the ocean floor.
  • The new British Type 45 Daring-class destroyers, with the radar cross-section of a fishing trawler. Even if it doesn't have all the weapons it can carry fitted. Began appearing in the recruitment ads even before the first one was commissioned.
  • The Russian nuclear-powered "Kirov" class heavy cruisers (or battlecruiser depending on who you ask; "atomic rocket cruiser" by Soviet designation). 20 anti-shipping missiles, four different kinds of surface-to-air missiles (up to 476 rounds can be carried, 340 ready to fire at any one time), 10 torpedo tubes, CIWS systems and a rapid-firing 130mm twin cannon. Bigger than some light aircraft carriers. A living example of More Dakka. She also has a SIGINT profile compared a Disney-style Christmas Tree with all candles blazing and all mechanical gnomes singing Jingle Bells at maximum volume. In Russian, of course.
  • The Iowa class battleships. That is all.
    • To clarify, and distinguish this example from the previous mention of the Iowa class, in 1984 Ronald Reagan was significantly increasing the size of the US Navy. One target of this increase were the four Iowa class battleships (some argue this was the result of Kirov envy), which had all been mothballed since the New Jersey provided fire support during the Vietnam War. The ships were put through an extensive refit, completely gutting the old systems and modernizing the ships. After the refit, the Battleships were arguably the best warships the world has ever, and ever will, see, with the old armament of 16" and 5" guns being supplemented by Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles, Phalanx cannons, and a helipad complete with a Sea Sprite ASW helicopter.
    • Don't know why they thought the "old" armament needed help. The nine 16-inch guns could each fire a 2,000-pound projectile over 20 miles, leaving an impact crater the size of a football field. Looks as cool as it sounds.
      • Because the old armament is completely helpless against even small missile boats which would laugh at only 20 miles of range. Small missile boats can pack missiles with ranges over three times that much, at least. It needed those upgrades to not be a complete sitting duck against modern weaponry. Not to mention that the 20 anti ship missiles of the Kirov class missile cruisers, which the Iowas were supposed to counter, had a range about 12 times as great as the Harpoon anti ship missiles used by the Iowas, were supersonic and were designed to be fired in salvos of 4 or 8 with all missiles in a salvo cooperating to destroy the target.
    • That extensive refit, though, was minor compared to some of the other ideas that were considered over the years, including installing the Aegis system (see below) and advanced anti-aircraft missiles, equipping them with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, and even removing the rear gun turret and replacing it with a massive hanger/flight deck assembly extending back to the stern for Harrier V/STOL jets. All were rejected as too expensive, and that last proposal would've probably made the ships dangerously unstable in heavy seas.
    • Not included in any of the refits the Iowas received: A replacement for the analog (that is to say, entirely mechanical) gunnery computer that helped the ship aim her guns. They found that a brand new digital targeting computer would at best be only as accurate as the old mechanical computer, and thus, not worth the trouble to upgrade.
  • R/P FLIP, a boat capable of capsizing itself and turning itself into a 5-storey tower poking out of the sea, used for ocean research.
  • The Ticonderoga-class cruisers, with their Aegis missile defence system, capable of controlling the missiles of other ships and only capable of being defeated by a Macross Missile Massacre.
  • The South Korean Sejong the Great destroyers, like Arleigh Burkes, but with 128 VLS cells, 16 dedicated anti-shipping missiles and two choppers. It is, as of 2011, the largest surface warfare ship class to carry the Aegis combat system.
  • Coming back to the US Navy, we have the Freedom and Independence class littoral combat ships. Designed to go right up to the shore and give some poor unfortunate a bloody nose (of death), they're also able to swap their gear for whatever mission they happen to be on as well as carrying helicopters and Awesome Personnel Carriers and the troops inside them. While they're small and in standard configuration lightly-armed even for their size, they're very fast and their modularity allows beefing up the armament as the mission requires.

Submarines have always been cool...

  • The new German Type-212 U-Boat, arguably the stealthiest submarine in the world. While much smaller than British or American nuclear submarines, this vessel is non-nuclear - instead, it uses hydrogen fuel-cell arrays for propulsion, which are even quieter than nuclear fission reactors and can be turned off if tactics call for it.
  • The Soviet/Russian "Typhoon" class of nuclear missile submarines is the largest ever built. Each can carry 20 ballistic missiles, each with 10 warheads and also nuclear-tipped anti-shipping missiles. Very roomy for a sub, it has a sauna and a small swimming pool on board, as well as having the ability to stay submerged for up to a year.
    • It's been proposed that the unused Typhoon hulls be converted to transport submarines with 15000 tonnes of cargo capacity.
  • ...and its counterpart, the US Navy's Ohio-class SSBN. So damned quiet, enemy crews learned to listen for suspicious areas of completely silent water rather than trying to pick up anything aboard the boat itself.
    • Four have been converted to carry over 150 Tomahawk conventional cruise missiles.
  • Really, any modern American sub is an exercise in BadAssery. See also: the Los Angeles, Seawolf and Virginia classes of fast-attack SSN.
    • This troper worked on the second and third Seawolf class submarines (Connecticut and Jimmy Carter). I didn't have high security clearance or access to detailed specs, not that I'd be able to share them if I did, but I have seen enough to say for certain that any of the estimates of that submarine's capabilities that I've seen are...somewhat of an understatement.
  • Not to be outdone, the Royal Navy has the Astute-class nuclear attack sub. It has the same "enemies can detect it by looking for suspiciously quiet water" as the Ohio class, to such an extent that the designers were forced to make the vessel noisier to compensate.
  • The Australian Collins class. Can sneak up on US carriers in exercises, slipping past the most advanced ASW systems in the world.
  • The Swedish HMS Gotland is a conventional sub with an Stirling engine that provides very good underwater endurance. She was used as an "enemy sub" in training exercises with the US Pacific Fleet of the coast of California some years ago. She put imaginary torpedoes in various aircraft carriers at several exercises, because of her extreme stealthiness, while the US Navy ASW crews never got a chance to pay back in kind.
    • Yes the US Navy was so concerned with the results that they rented the submarine for a year to try to figure out how it does what it does and how the hell to prevent it, after that year they were not much closer to a solution than when they started.
      • They know most of the 'hows' for what it does. The problem is, the how boils down to 'it incorporates every stealth-trick there was when they were laid down, diesel-electric engines are naturally less noisy than nuclear fission, and the Stirling engine extends their underwater endurance to lengths only (then) rivaled by nuclear submarines'. It's hard to figure out how to solve a problem that is fundamentally the exact same problem as before (How To Find A Quiet Moving Underwater Object), only harder.
  • And let's not forget the Great-Granmammy of all these sweet sexy sea lassies: The H. L. Hunley. Now, saddly she was a bit of a, ah... Sinking Disaster Area with sinking three times taking two and a half crews (and her financier/builder) with her, but she was the very first submarine to ever sink an enemy ship in combat. And don't let those images on The Other Wiki fool you. When the wreck was finally lifted from the seafloor (and removed of the low visiblility), people were saying that, with the surprising knife-like bow and stern and flush rivets, the sub looks a lot more like a WWI-Era U-Boat than the boxy retrofitted boiler that everyone was expecting. Keep in mind that this thing was built during the height of the The American Civil War by the industrially behind Confederacy, during a time when water-tight seals and pressure hulls intended to go under the surface for extended periods of time were beyond the cutting edge at best.
    • A note on titles: Unlike other Confederate warships, the Hunley was actually in service with the Confederate Army rather than the Navy (although several Navy seamen volunteered as crewmembers), and thus was never properly prefixed with the "CSS" used by most Confederate warships.
  • And of course the first real submarine (as opposed to most submarines up until the end of WW2, which were better described as submersibles): the German Type XXI U-Boot, designed to be submerged most of the time instead of spending most of the time above the surface like the other submarines of the time, it is the inspiration for most of the later submarines, though like many of Germany's late war projects this too was unfinished and only two submarines made patrols where they both failed to actually sink something.
  • Spain was, once, the pioneer in submarine design, providing at least three to this list:
    • The Ictineo I, which used a chemical air scrubber to prolong the time it could be submerged, had a security system to help her surface even if its ballast tanks failed, and even a system to warn the crew that they were running low on oxygen (admittedly, it was just a candle, but it worked).
    • The Ictineo II, the first submarine with air-independent and combustion propulsion, and also the first that overcame the basic problems of machine-powered underwater navigation.
    • The Peral Submarine, the first with electric batteries, its performance levels (save for range) were similar or even superior to World War I U-boats (similar figures of performance were not reached until 10 years later), it had a very reliable navigation system and it could launch torpedos with great accuracy.

When you are saving the whales...

But before that/When you want get around the world in a hurry..

  • She was known as the Earthrace,Had a MUCH cooler paintjob and circumnavigated the world in 61 days back in 2008.
  • Try the (unfortunately Canceled) HMCS Bras d'Or (FHE 400). This military hydrofoil was clocked at over 63 knots (117 km/h!! or 72 mph!!) making it possibly the fastest warship ever built!

Why can't we give the Famous Ocean Liners any respect?

Go back on board the Cool Boat. Make sure you have your seasickness pills...

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