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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Iran says it has a new torpedo and it's really, really fast, too

Continuing its release of information about recently developed super weapons. Iran says it has the world's fastest underwater missile as reported here:
A senior commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed on Sunday that the Islamic Republic had developed the world'’s "“fastest underwater missile"” which could destroy both battleships and submarines.

"“The fastest underwater missile in today'’s world was successfully tested in the military exercise code named Great Prophet"”, deputy commander of the IRGC Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi told state television, referring to week-long naval war games in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman which began on Friday by Iran's armed forces.

"“The speed of this missile called "‘Hout"’ is 100 metres per second and no ship can escape it"”, Fadavi said, adding that the maximum speed of conventional underwater missiles was 25 metres per second. State television aired clips of the missile as it was being fired and moving in the water.

"Currently, only two countries in the world are equipped with such a missile"”, he said.

"“Ships that can fire the Hout missile are radar-proof and cannot be identified"”, he added.

The missiles are also designed to evade sonar detection, Fadavi claimed.
Iran is obviously trying to scare someone...

UPDATE: A Popular Science article on "supercavitating torpedos" here. A WIkipedia article here. A WIkipedia article on the Russian Shkval here which notes at the end, "Iran has also claimed to have carried out a successful test of such a weapon." FAS page on the Shkval here (source of the pictures):
Apparently fired from standard 533mm torpedo tubes, Shkval has a range of about 7,500 yards. The weapon clears the tube at fifty knots, upon which its rocket fires, propelling the missile through the water at 360 kph [about 100 m/sec / 230 mph / 200-knots], three or four times as fast as conventional torpedoes. The solid-rocket propelled "torpedo" achieves high speeds by producing a high-pressure stream of bubbles from its nose and skin, which coats the torpedo in a thin layer of gas and forms a local "envelope" of supercavitating bubbles. Carrying a tactical nuclear warhead initiated by a timer, it would destroy the hostile submarine and the torpedo it fired. The Shkval high-speed underwater missile is guided by an auto-pilot rather than by a homing head as on most torpedoes.
There are no evident countermeasures to such a weapon, its employment could put adversary naval forces as a considerable disadvantage. One such scenario is a rapid attack situation wherein a sudden detection of a threat submarine is made, perhaps at relatively short range, requiring an immediate response to achieve weapon on target and to ensure survival. Apparently guidance is a problem, and the initial version of the Shkval was unguided However, the Russians have been advertising a homing version, which runs out at very high speed, then slows to search.
A prototype of the modernised "Shkval", which was exhibited at the 1995 international armaments show in Abu Dhabi, was discarded. An improved model was designed with a conventional (non-nuclear) warhead and a guided targeting system, which substantially enhances its combat effectiveness. The first tests of the modernised Shkval torpedo were held by the Russian Pacific Fleet in the spring of 1998.

Kathryn Cramer, in commenting my earlier post on the "radar evading missiles" offfered up links to photos of what I believe to be the torpedo test firing here and a link to a video of the torpedo firing here. Thanks Kathryn!

UPDATE3: WIth perfect timing, Molten Eagle has a very recent post on high speed torpedoes here.

UPDATE4: Well, after couple hours of watching the video (thanks Kathryn) of this thing cycle off its barge (or whatever that launch platform is) I had the following thought: "Well, if'n I'm the Iranians, I don't think I want to be toting that "torpedo barge" or whatever platform that is being used to launch that puppy out to where the perceived enemies are (and aren't they just everywhere for Iran?). It's a dandy target.

I doubt the Kilo subs they have could take these things and I am sure only the submarine suicide squad would want one of these on their mini-subs... as for surface torp ops, the problem is that people can see you out there.

But what a proganda ploy. Buy a couple of Russian Shkvals and fire them off from a jury-rigged platform at a sitting duck target and no one shooting back. Make a big announcement like you just invented peanut butter.

Fish in the barrel, you might say. And you don't really have to take the damn thing to sea and try to use it for real. Nice."

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