Toys of the Rich and Famous

When you are a rich and famous multi billionaire the range of ‘toys’ on offer is amazing, but are any of them useful in a defence context?

Just for fun…

The Migaloo Submarine

I did wonder at the name but the Migaloo is a step up from the various small submersible now available for the luxury market. It must be stressed that the Migaloo is only a collection of nice graphics but Starkad stress it has been designed to US Navy standards, for what its worth.

The Migaloo is marketed as a submersible yacht, which I think is an important distinction. It is not designed for especially deep diving but to have bags of space inside its wet and dry hangars, and of course, luxurious accommodation.

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The MIGALOO private submarine transforms the stereotypical industrial style of submersibles into a lavish private vessel fit for a king

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A submersible vessel designed for maximum payload and shallow diving (low visual signature), is an interesting concept for special forces uses against our most likely future enemies i.e. those without sophisticated anti submarine capabilities.

Read more here

A bit too ridiculous, how about something from U Boat Worx


OK, so the whole submarine aircraft carrier idea might be a bit too ‘out there’

The Quadrafoil is an all electric small watercraft that can cruise at 20 knots, has a range of 100km and emits very little noise.

Yours for a little over €20k

Damen/AMELS Yacht Tender

Something a little larger?

When there are too many toys to carry on a single super yacht the discerning billionaire invests in a yacht tender, from AMELS and Damen.

The latest in the range is the Sea Axe 6911

The SEA AXE 6911 offers the ultimate technical area for serious superyacht helicopter operations – a LY3 / MCA fully certified helideck with fully enclosed hangar. Or, for the true dive enthusiast, the space below the helideck can also be fully kitted-out with a 45.50 square-metre professional dive centre.

Vital statistics;

Length overall 69.15 metres (227 feet)
Beam overall at hull 11.5 metres
Draught (Full Load Midship) 3.65 metres
Gross Tonnage App. 1,200
Naval architecture DAMEN
Maximum speed 18-20 knots
Range 4,500nm @ 16 knots
Crew accommodation 21
Deck space (cargo) 250 m2
Deck crane 12.0 tonnes at 5.00 metres
6.0 tonnes at 11.5 metres
Helicopter max take-off weight 5,000 kg

The helicopter and hangar arrangements are innovative, although limited to lightweight helicopters like the AW109 or similar.

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Again, this may have applications in low intensity maritime security operations.

Ripsaw EV2

After many years of failing to sell their Ripsaw vehicle to the US military, Howe and Howe have repositioned it as a luxury high speed off road ‘tank’ for the leisure market.

Would be great as a recce vehicle, as long as one accepts not seeing anything except a blur.

The Martin Jetpack

Perhaps the ultimate boys toy is the jetpack. There have been many attempts at a working practical jetpack going back decades but the New Zealand company, Martin Jetpacks, might actually crack it.

The Martin Jetpack is a disruptive technology, much like the helicopter was when first developed, with substantial capabilities and is able to be flown by a pilot or via remote control. The Jetpack can take off and land vertically (VTOL) and because of its small dimensions, it can operate in confined spaces such as close to or between buildings, near trees or in confined areas that other VTOL aircraft such as helicopters cannot access. Martin Jetpack has been designed with safety in mind and for easy adoption, with pilot qualifications easy to obtain. The Jetpack is “fly by wire” so unlike other aircraft including helicopters it is relatively easy to operate and with its ballistic parachute system that can safely recover the aircraft from a few meters above the ground it will be one of the most safe light aircraft on the market. Martin Jetpack’s capability gives it a competitive advantage in key markets: first responder, military, commercial and recreation. As a heavy lift Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) unmanned air vehicle (UAV), the Martin Jetpack has a significant operational advantage being able to carry commercial payloads of up to 120kgs unlike Quadcopters which are limited to only a few kilograms.

The numbers

Type Class one microlight
Crew Single pilot
Height (m) 2.20
Width (m) 2.14
Depth (m) 1.75 (pilot module)
Aircraft empty weight 200kg (manned)
Max aircraft take-off weight 320kg
Payload at full fuel (Pilot + Equip weight) 120kg
Engine 200hp, 100hr TBO, low vibration
Fuel capacity 45 litre


Range 30km-50km
Endurance (flight time) 30 minutes + Reverse
Maximum airspeed 40kts (74km/h)
Cruise speed 30kts (56km/h)
Ceiling 3,000 ft AMSL
Recommended cruise height 500ft and above per aviation authority regulations
Take-off wind limit 15kts gusting +/- 5kts (28km/h +/- 9km/h)
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Surely better than a quad bike.

Actually, this might not be as madcap as first thoughts, a similar system called the Malloy Hoverbike from Berkshire is being seriously looked at by the US DoD.


Want to have something for the land, sea and air, the Jetevator ticks all the boxes.

Not sure there is any military utility here though :)



Am sure there are many more!

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July 16, 2015 2:18 pm

Short of some Bond villianly moolighting who on earth could justify a submarine yacht?!?! doesent stop me wanting one however……..

July 16, 2015 2:31 pm
Reply to  Shackvan

@ Shackvan: Somebody with a billion or two of loose change, I reckon.

The Other Chris
July 16, 2015 2:42 pm

Euromillions jackpot is up to £17m tomorrow evening if anything catches your eye…

Slightly Agricultural
Slightly Agricultural
July 16, 2015 8:09 pm

I’m not fussy, I’d ‘settle’ for one of those nice Sea Axe tenders. Because a super-yacht is just a bit much, y’know?

John Hartley
John Hartley
July 16, 2015 8:34 pm

Why not go for the military version of the Sea Axe? Damen OPV 2600 , 103m long, 2600t, 7000nm range, 40 day endurance, 76mm gun + 2 x 20mm, NH90 sized helicopter + 2 x 9m RHIBs. You can find it on

July 19, 2015 3:23 am

That drop down hanger on the Damen yacht would seem to solve a lot of problems

@ John Hartley

The Damen 2600 looks great. How come we end up with something like the River Batch 2 for a higher price :-( Three of them would have been dead handy

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
July 19, 2015 2:42 pm

One of my favourites – made by Lurssen as a publicity stunt to show how versatile they are. Apparently they had some serious enquiries from the Middle East….

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
July 19, 2015 2:47 pm

trying again

July 19, 2015 2:50 pm

Imagine the cocktail parties the Navy could have on that! :-)

A Caribbean Perspective
A Caribbean Perspective
July 19, 2015 3:53 pm
Reply to  Tony Williams

Definitely a candidate for the next HMS Agincourt ;)

The Other Chris
July 19, 2015 4:33 pm

The “cost” of the River Batch 2 is made up of two parts:

1) Actual portion that is the cost of the ships which is, and this often surprises many, competitive;

2) The difference between what the 3-ship contract is bringing in and what’s needed to keep all those with skills paid until the next contract starts.

We have to spend the money to keep the right number of people with the right skills (steel work?) employed and available for significant upcoming projects anyway. Might as use it to refresh part of our fleet and keep training and skills sharp by building something.

So as not to tie up more of the other skills needed in warship building than necessary (systems outfitting?), less fighty ships are needed.

So as not to tie up more design skills than are necessary a design that’s relatively recent, matches our standards and doesn’t need significant changes is needed. Something like the BAES (formerly VT) OPV 90 design evolved for the Amazonas which is a known and can be altered a little without much effort.

Effort in terms of design and work skills resource, not raw cash.

Damen 2600 looks great but, standards aside, doesn’t have the high sea state operation or the range of the Clyde/Amazonas. It could be modified, but would require people we’d rather have working elsewhere and it would be an effort to have the design built by the yards we need the work to go to.

Even if we needed them to be, the Rivers could be modified with a raised flight deck, additional ISO container mission deck underneath with stern ramps and a decent hangar, and probably within the £350m spend too, to match those gucci features on the 2600’s however it would again tie up people we’d rather be working on our other projects because adding those features either needs to compromise other features or require some innovate thinking. Which costs us more time from limited key resource.

(Personally I would like to add features of the Knud Rasmussen’s (ice-strengthening, heated/conditioned mission area and enclosed davits/ramps etc) to the RIvers key features (range, accommodation, automation and systems) before looking at raw fightyness…)

Take the new River builds for what they are: Make-work to tide us over a situation that we would rather not be in, but that will still produce three highly capable patrol vessels, uprated further over what we have already, intended to operate within an EEZ but that have the ability to push themselves if needed, and are roughly cost-neutral on operation.

If we don’t keep the original three that is. We may even claw some decent cash back if we sold them on. Some have suggested a midlife refit to add the new systems to the current vessels could be a nice contract for another UK yard… Plenty to debate there.

The Other Chris
July 19, 2015 4:33 pm


Can imagine some Russian oligarchs have had some ideas planted as well!

Dangerous Dave
July 19, 2015 10:49 pm

Surprised no-one has mentioned the Seabreacher mini-sub Could be carried by a submersible mother-ship to create hypercavitating underwater fighter-craft, one of my favourite SF memes!!

July 31, 2015 7:34 pm
Reply to  John Hartley

To small for the NH90, Sea Lynx or Wildcat possibly…