Un­der­wa­ter weapon sys­tems

The mod­ern torpedo is a pow­er­ful weapon which can de­stroy tar­gets at 40 kms with a speed of 50 knots and a de­struc­tion po­ten­tial equiv­a­lent to 400-600 kg of TNT.

SP's MAI - - MILITARY - [By Lt Gen­eral (Retd) Naresh Chand]

Un­der­wa­ter weapons are de­signed to at­tack sub­marines or sur­face ves­sels. They can be of three types i.e. guided weapons, non-guided weapons and rocket and mor­tar weapons. Guided weapon is a torpedo, which is very pow­er­ful and most com­monly used thus the fo­cus here will be on the mighty torpedo. Non-guided weapons are mines and depth charges. Rock­ets and mor­tar weapons, such as anti-sub­ma­rine grenades and anti-sub­ma­rine rock­ets have the ad­van­tage of rapid re­sponse time since they travel to the tar­get through air and also have the ad­van­tage of be­ing less sus­cep­ti­ble to de­coys etc. A hy­brid of this cat­e­gory is the rocket launched torpedo, which is car­ried to the prox­im­ity of the tar­get via a rocket.

Torpedo

The mod­ern torpedo is a pow­er­ful weapon which can de­stroy tar­gets at 40 kms with a speed of 50 knots and are of two types, the heavy­weight, launched from sub­marines, and the light­weight which is launched from ships, dropped from air­craft (both fixed wing and he­li­copters) or de­liv­ered by a rocket. They can be straight-run­ning, wireguided and fire and for­get. A mod­ern torpedo could have a speed of 50 knots, range of 40 km, should have a com­bined acous­tic and wake hom­ing with an ac­qui­si­tion range of about 5 km and a de­struc­tion po­ten­tial equiv­a­lent to 400-600 kg of TNT. The nor­mal size is 6.5 me­tres in length with a stan­dard di­am­e­ter of 533mm or 650mm but will de­pend on the size of the launch tube. Salient sub-sys­tems are:

Propul­sion. Torpedo propul­sion is of two types i.e. elec­tri­cal propul­sion pow­ered by bat­ter­ies and ther­mal engine pow­ered by com­bustible fuel.

Propul­sion mo­tors. With the ad­vent of Per­ma­nent Magnetic Mo­tors, greater power to weight ra­tio has been achieved and brushless mo­tors al­low a con­tin­u­ously vari­able speed con­trol. Faster tor­pe­does need more pow­er­ful mo­tors.

Hom­ing Head

Hom­ing. The ter­mi­nal guid­ance of the torpedo is pro­vided by the hom­ing sys­tem, which com­prises of hom­ing head and the sig­nal-pro­cess­ing unit. Hom­ing can be acous­tic or wake. Hom­ing head of most mod­ern tor­pe­does have acous­tic sen­sors which can be pas­sive or ac­tive. In the pas­sive mode the sen­sor re­ceives the noise cre­ated by the tar­get, whereas in the ac­tive mode the torpedo trans­mits acous­tic en­ergy and it re­ceives the echoes re­flected from the tar­get. In wake hom­ing a torpedo de­tects and homes on to bub­bles that are cre­ated in the wake of the tar­get and is ef­fec­tive only against sur­face ships.

Guid­ance. Tor­pe­does can be con­trolled by a sub­ma­rine by means of a wire which pro­vides a two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the sub­ma­rine and torpedo. The wire used in mod­ern tor­pe­does has a length of about 50-60 km, high data han­dling ca­pac­ity and is made of fi­bre op­tic ca­ble.

War­head de­sign. The de­sired ex­plo­sive

MU90 light­weight torpedo

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