Russia Is the Only Nation Arming Submarines with 200 Knot “Supercavitating Torpedoes”

    Kyle Mizokami


    And the Navy can’t match it. 

    Another drawback to a supercavitating torpedo is the inability to use traditional guidance systems. The gas bubble and rocket engine produce enough noise to deafen the torpedo’s built-in active and passive sonar guidance systems. Early versions of the Shkval were apparently unguided, trading guidance for speed. A newer version of the torpedo employs a compromise method, using supercavitation to sprint to the target area, then slowing down to search for its target.

    Imagine the sudden revelation of a weapon that can suddenly go six times faster than its predecessors. The shock of such a breakthrough system would turn an entire field of warfare on its head, as potential adversaries scrambled to deploy countermeasures to a new weapon they are defenseless against. While a lull in great power competition delayed the impact of this new technology, the so-called “supercavitating torpedo” may be about to take the world by storm.

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    During the Cold War, the Soviet Union placed a heavy reliance on its submarine fleet to negate America’s advantage in naval forces. The U.S. Navy was not only tasked to help protect the flow of reinforcements into Europe in the event of World War III, it also threatened the Soviet Union directly and would have hunted down and sunk her ballistic missile submarines. The USSR at first used sheer numbers of diesel electric submarines, then more advanced nuclear attack submarines, to whittle down the odds.

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