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Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments => Submarines and ASW => Topic started by: Ayoshi on December 01, 2017, 03:07:26 PM

Title: Supercavitating Torpedo
Post by: Ayoshi on December 01, 2017, 03:07:26 PM
From: Popular Science (

Submarines peaked in power and relevance during the Cold War; there has since been a shift in focus to aircraft-based combat, and subs have become budget-cut victims. But subs are still prized for their ability to sneak about global waters undetected and to defend surface ships from attack. Many U.S. subs are being converted from missile launchers into delivery vehicles for special operations troops.

But the supercavitating torpedo--a rocket-propelled weapon that speeds through the water enveloped in a nearly frictionless air bubble--may render obsolete the old submarine strategy of sly maneuvering and silent running to evade the enemy. The superfast torpedo could be outfitted with conventional explosive warheads, nuclear tips or nothing at all--a 5,000-pound, 230-mph missile could do enough damage on its own. The Russians invented the concept during the Cold War, and their version of this underwater killer--dubbed the Shkval ("Squall")--has recently been made available on the international weapons market; the United States, of course, wants a new, improved version of the original.

The hard part about building a rocket-propelled torpedo isn't so much the propulsion as clearing a path through the ocean. Water creates speed-sapping drag; the best way to overcome that drag is to create a bubble that envelops the torpedo--a supercavity. A gas ejected uniformly and with enough force through a cavitator in the nose of the torpedo will provide such a bubble, permitting speeds of more than 200 mph and a range of up to 5 miles (traditional torpedoes have slightly longer ranges, but lumber at only 30 to 40 mph).

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Among the greatest challenges for U.S. torpedo researchers is developing detection and homing technology that will enable the torpedo to distinguish an enemy sub from, say, a rock formation, says Ng. Also tricky is finding a way to control the gas bubble to permit those course changes. "When you turn, the bubble distorts because it is no longer symmetrical," he says. "So you have to compensate for that by putting more bubble to one side." This is done, Ng explains, by ejecting more gas toward the outside of the turn.

Title: Re: Supercavitating Torpedo
Post by: Ayoshi on December 01, 2017, 03:09:15 PM
MADEX 2017: South Korea Developing a Supercavitating Torpedo | Navy Recognition ( - 10 November 2017
At MADEX 2017, the International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition held in October 2017 in Busan, South Korea's Agency for Defense Development (ADD) stand was featuring a "supercavitating underwater test vehicle".

A poster displayed above the test vehicle explained that ADD research focuses on the cavitator design to optimize the supercavitating torpedo performance. The poster on display at the MADEX 2017 show read:
Development of key technologies for supercavitating torpedo:
- Supercavitator design technology
- Cavity shapes and hydrodynamic forces prediction technology
- High-speed cavitation tunnel for supercavitation experiment

Talking to Navy Recognition during MADEX, an ADD engineer working on the project confirmed that the development which started in 2013 focused so far on the cavitator design. "Test in tanks started in 2015 and maybe live tests in the sea will take place around 2020" the engineer told us.

Supercavitating underwater test vehicle on ADD stand at MADEX 2017. Photo taken from

Footage showing South Korea's supercaviating torpedo during tank tests in 2015:
 Video Link (