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Shanghai to San Francisco in two hours via supersonic submarine
The traditional submarine design could soon be a thing of the past.

It may soon be possible to travel from Asia to America in less than two hours thanks to supersonic submarine technology being developed in China.

The South China Morning Post reported that scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology's Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab has made it easier for a submarine, or torpedo, to travel at extremely high speeds underwater.

Professor Li Fengchen said the team was working on creating an air "bubble" required for rapid underwater travel.

"We are very excited by its potential," he said.

Normal submarines cannot travel as fast as aircraft because water produces more friction than air.

The creation of the 'air pocket' will be crucial in generating speed through the water. Photo: Daily Mail

According to the South China Morning Post, Soviet technology called supercavitation produced an air bubble that allowed a torpedo to reach a speed of 370km/h.

A theoretical a supercavitating vessel could reach the speed of sound underwater, or about 5,800km/h. This would cut a journey from Shanghai to San Francisco to 100 minutes.

Traditional submarine design suffers from drag, which reduces its optimal speed. Photo: Getty

Professor Li told the South China Morning Post said that were still problems to be solved if supersonic submarine travel were to become a reality.

A powerful underwater rocket engine still had to be developed to give the vessel a longer range.

The range of the Russian supercavitation torpedoes was only between 11 km and 15 km.

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