In order to decelerate a forward-moving submarine rapidly, often the propeller of the submarine is placed abruptly into reverse rotation, causing the propeller to generate a thrust force in the direction opposite to the submarine’s motion. This maneuver is known as the “crashback” maneuver. During crashback, the relative flow velocities in the vicinity of the propeller lead to the creation of a ring vortex around the propeller. This vortex has an unsteady asymmetry, which produces off-axis forces and moments on the propeller that are transmitted to the submarine. Tests were conducted in the William B. Morgan Large Cavitation Channel using an existing submarine model and propeller. A range of steady crashback conditions with fixed tunnel and propeller speeds was investigated. The dimensionless force and moment data were found to collapse well when plotted against the parameter η, which is defined as the ratio of the actual propeller speed to the propeller speed required for self-propulsion in forward motion. Unsteady crashback maneuvers were also investigated with two different types of simulations in which propeller and tunnel speeds were allowed to vary. It was noted during these simulations that the peak out-of-plane force and moment coefficient magnitudes in some cases exceeded those observed during the steady crashback measurements. Flow visualization and LDV studies showed that the ring vortex structure varied from an elongated vortex structure centered downstream of the propeller to a more compact structure that was located nearer the propeller as η became more negative, up to η=0.8. For more negative values of η, the vortex core appeared to move out toward the propeller tip.

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