IT’S an idea straight out of James Bond or the sixties puppet series Stingray but the idea of a flying submarine, developed by a Hampshire firm, has impressed defence experts.

The flying fish-style craft was envisaged by engineer, Ali Roy, 26, of Fareham-based Saab Seaeye, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of unmanned underwater vehicles.

She was part of a team made up of some of the nation’s brightest young engineers taking part in FutureNest, a forum to promote the engineering, science and technology interests of UK Naval Defence.

The futuristic submarine concepts, that emerged from the FutureNest group and unveiled by the Royal Navy, mimicked living marine lifeforms and radically changes the way underwater warfare could look in 50 years.

Along with Ali Roy’s flying concept, there was a crewed mothership shaped like a manta ray, unmanned eel-like vessels equipped with sensor pods which dissolve on demand to avoid enemy detection, and fish-shaped torpedoes sent to swarm against enemy targets.

Ali, an Oxford University graduate who has worked for four years as a systems engineer at Seaeye, said she was surprised with the warm reception her sci-fi concept had received.

“There are a few technological barriers it would have to overcome,” said Ali, who added that submarines were usually heavy so getting one to fly would be difficult.

“It would probably benefit from being unmanned,” she said.

Commander Peter Pipkin, the Royal Navy’s Fleet Robotics Officer, said: “It’s predicted that in 50 years’ time there will be more competition between nations to live and work at sea or under it.

"So it’s with this in mind that the Royal Navy is looking at its future role, and how it will be best equipped to protect Britain’s interests around the globe.”

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: “These remarkable designs display the great promise of our young engineers and scientists and the great ambition of the Royal Navy.”

“This kind of innovation is at the heart of defence and the UK’s world-leading capability. That’s why we are using our rising budget to invest in high-tech capability to keep our Armed Forces at the cutting-edge, and our £800 million Innovation Fund aims to take advantage of exactly these kinds of futuristic ideas.”