Snatch Pickup of Gliders from Naval Vessels



During World War II, US cargo gliders were retrieved with surprising regularity using an unusual technique. A passing airplane would physically “snatch” the stationary glider into towed flight. Snatch pickup's modern reapplication would revolutionize expeditionary resupply by releasing the beachhead from resupply lines and turning supply ships into open ammunition boxes. Snatch pickup enables faster sea-based resupply and indefinite sustainment to warfighters ashore. Physics models of the snatch pickup technique, if they ever existed, are lost to history along with its wood and canvas icons. This paper develops physics models of the culmination of the operationally approved technique. A Newtonian modeling approach approximates a modern marinized capability toward estimating supply chain performance. It shows that snatch pickup's modern reapplication, without exceeding historical achievement, is both viable and highly desirable in the supply chain. Then a continuous physics approach uses Hook's Law to characterize the culminating technique toward future systems design. Using differential equations, this second modeling approach succeeds in matching a one-dimensional nonlinear continuous simulation with historical measurements. Because the exploratory models successfully indicate system viability, this paper recommends further developing these concepts of operations. Three-dimensional visualizations using the continuous physics model can demonstrate to the expeditionary maneuver community the value in developing marinized snatch pickup.