FYI anyone who wants to imagineer a novel design, I've recently discovered a FREE 3D Modelling software that works much the same way as those pricey softwares out there. You can check it out for yourself at http://freecadweb.org/
I am still learning it, but will soon give form to the 'Strategic Craft' I would suggest for India, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
The broad outlines of this design are inspired by that 'ekranoplan' video I was turned-onto by esteemed and knowledgeable Rakshaks in this thread. In particular, the craft that appears under construction after 1 minute of that Youtube I posted above, in this thread.
My design is up-scaled somewhat, with a 'wingspan' and length both roughly around 30 meters. (NB: The C-130 Hercules has roughly 40 meters wingspan and 30 meters length. But since the entire fuselage itself is the wing area; 40 meters is probably too large for best use, and 30 meters in size is more practical. So, 30 meters is the 'wingspan' constraint I'll design ab initio. This lent itself to being powered by a pair of *existing generation Kaveri engines*. CONSIDER: While the Kaveri may be currently unable to better 85kn thrust, and this is insufficient to propel the LCA to its design envelop; this level of output may be perfectly sufficient for a craft designed to fly much, much slower than mach 2.0.
In a 30 meter 'flying horseshoe crab' design, two Kaveris could be on board and em placed *internally* within this 30 meters fuselage. (Please note a Nirbhay is 6 meters long, and a Brahmos LR is probably 8.5 meters long; which I mention as a relevant point of reference.
So, 30 meters diameter..... 170kns thrust powered by twin Kaveris.... an extensible/retractable tail that can be used to draw-up water to be propelled downward for water take-offs and landings ***with no aircraft carriers or runways of any description being required to takeoff and land***.
Much has been written in this thread and others, about fancy aircraft of every description, but all of them must 'rally' at 'choke points' called airports and air bases or at least, runways. Of course, the reality is: All of these immovable areas (and in the case of naval aircraft carriers, the carriers themselves do move, but so are they even more critical targets); the enemy will seek to destroy India's ability to operate from/within/through that air domain, by attacking assets on the surface (whether land or sea).
This is the true genius of amphibious 'strategic craft' (i.e. potentially, but not necessarily, nuclear armed vessels that fly slow and low, and can shoot and scoot and hide and surprise -- operating far afield and far offshore, in constellations of differing craft, each with special abilities that represent a *distributed capability*). The enemy's counter strike against these deployed forces, becomes asymmetrically more expensive and less workable, as uncertainty and dispersion increases. (More on this later.)
If such an amphibious 'strategic craft' could be made to truly love the water; I mean get wet over its head (but perhaps not much over it's protruding sensors); this could be akin to having *re-position-able* missile silos in the ocean. To underscore this point: I am advocating for a 'basic design' which outwardly looks identical from one model/version to the next. However, one such craft could be maximized for fuel carriage, to re-fuel the others. Another might be for troop-carrying, or air defense with a wide variety of anti-air weapons, or anti-submarine designs of various descriptions. The point is: Having multiple kinds of platforms that look essentially identical: Means the enemy would not know which of these deployed craft to target during a first strike, and would have to risk starting an all-out counterattack and escalating war, over a mere listening station (or is it carrying a Shourya, a K4?).
Being able to operate in distributed fashion, is itself of great deterrent value. Not to mention: The basic design I've suggested lends itself to carriage of very heavy warloads. It may not be a swift craft, but it has much to recommend it as a 'punishing' design, as warbirds go.
Please consider: Current aircraft carriers cannot operate aircraft during high sea states (too much wind and wave). But I think if this 30 meters craft had two Kaveris powering pumps; and this apparatus was used to suck-in water from the tail, and shoot it downward to propel the craft upward.... such a craft could launch into the wind (particularly if it had a projecting wing that sprung-up during take-off and flight, yet folded away while waterborne), even during very stormy sea states, and more wind and wave than an air craft carrier can handle.....
What would it mean to have 'bomb trucks' that could operate entirely from and into water?
Being able to operate from inland lakes, would mean not only are 'home' facilities impervious to bombing; it would mean that the enemy's inland lakes are potentially 'forward operating bases'!
What if such craft could re-arm and re-supply submarines at sea?
Or move large numbers of troops and helpful bits of armor and arty?
Think about it.
And if you can, draw it. Design it.
I'll do what I can, but I'm just learning CAD right now, as I go. This will be my first 'industrial design'.