The Navy’s experimental Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo launches from the fantail of USS George HW Bush in May. US Navy Photo
In an age where missiles can shoot down ICBMs, the only surprise is that this has not happened sooner.
The US Naval Institute News is reporting that the Navy is developing a small torpedo to intercept Russian/Soviet designed torpedoes that are immune to normal acoustic torpedo countermeasures, because they follow the target’s wake rather than passively homing on the ship’s noise. I would expect it to work against other types of torpedoes as well.
The existence of wake homing torpedoes has been known for decades. Not mentioned in the article, but the Germans were working on these in WWII and the British unsuccessfully attempted to make a wake homer before the first World War.
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of this hard kill system is expected in 2019 with fleet wide adoption by 2035. What are the implications for the Coast Guard, other than perhaps having the countermeasure on our largest ships?
This anti-torpedo torpedo (ATT) might be adapted to become the “ship stopper” I believe the Coast Guard needs to ensure the ability to stop determined terrorists in control of a medium to large ship. With its relatively small charge it might even be usable in more typical law enforcement situations. The Navy might also find it useful if they are engaged in a blockade operation. I wonder if it might also be useful against swarming small boats.
The ATT is only 6.75 inches in diameter, only slightly more than half the diameter of existing light weight ASW torpedoes. It probably weighs on the order of 100 pounds and the warhead is almost certainly less than 25 pounds, but it would likely suffice to destroy propellers and possibly the rudder of even a large vessel. The fact that it would likely stop a vessel without sinking it, might be seen as an advantage. It is also less likely to create collateral damage, and it would be less dangerous to own ship than the carriage of larger torpedoes. It would have a very small footprint and could be carried on even the smallest cutters.
This is old but actually contains some information I had not seen elsewhere, specifically that they intend to be able to launch the anti-torpedo torpedo from the RAM launcher in addition to the Mk32 torpedo tubes. Perhaps another reason we should look at adding the RAM launcher to the OPCs and replacing the Phalanx on the NSCs with it. https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2012/05/04/alternate-weapons-for-new-large-cutters/
Apparently the Russians are also interested in anti-torpedo technology using small torpedoes. There is also an interesting reference to miniature heat-seeking torpedoes. http://sputniknews.com/russia/20150209/1017989525.html
Report of another very small torpedo (5″ diameter). http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2714
This post about the larger Firescout (MQ-8C) has an interesting reference to the possibility of using this miniature torpedo as a weapon. https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/navy-seeks-maritime-radar-for-northrop-mq-8c-fire-sc-416435/
Some information abut the Russian system used as both and anti-torpedo torpedo and a light weight ASW torpedo. Looking at the accompanying photos it is apparent the Russian use something explosive to eject the torpedo, rather than compressed air like the US’s Mk 32 torpedo tubes. http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2016/march-2016-navy-naval-forces-defense-industry-technology-maritime-security-global-news/3698-russian-navy-to-fit-all-its-new-a-upgraded-vessels-with-paket-nk-weapon-and-decoy-system.html Note their launchers are typically quad mounted two over two rather than triples like most Mk32 installations.
I believe Coast Guard could really put this device to broad use, particularly against shallow submersible contraband carriers. Imagine the flexibility and mission-enhancement if a lightweight, “roll-off” launch system could be adapted for even their surf boats. How useful this could be in wartime, when an HEC or MEC could launch davit boats, equipped with these devices, to expand the piquet perimeter for convoys or task groups; and if helo launch were possible, even the lightest air assets could expand the barrier even further. It’s definitely worth pursuing the potential.
Canadian/German partnership also working on an anti-torpedo torpedo, this one rocket powered. http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2016/may-2016-navy-naval-forces-defense-industry-technology-maritime-security-global-news/4039-magellan-aerospace-to-collaborate-with-atlas-elektronik-for-seaspider-anti-torpedo-system.html
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USS Nimitz Fifth Carrier Armed with Anti-Torpedo Weapon. http://seapowermagazine.org/stories/20161011-torpedo.html
Still they don’t seem to be in any hurry. “The Navy plans to equip all aircraft carriers and other high-value ships with the system by 2035.”
More on Russian hard kill torpedo countermeasures. Essentially they appear to be using a light weight torpedo about the size of the Mk46 to counter incoming torpedoes. http://seawaves.com/2017/09/01/stoiky-repelled-simulated-torpedo-attack-during-baltic-sea-exercise/
Navy has been testing a new soft-kill torpedo countermeasure. AN/SLQ-61 Lightweight Tow Torpedo Defense Mission Module (TDMM) for the LCS. Apparently they do not have Nixie. https://www.themaven.net/warriormaven/sea/navy-lcs-gets-soft-kill-countermeasure-to-destroy-enemy-torpedos-_gVGyEiTX0K_6dzu14dfkg/
Unfortunately this system did not work as well as hoped and it is being removed from the ships that had prototype installations. http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/26347/the-navy-is-ripping-out-underperforming-anti-torpedo-torpedoes-from-its-supercarriers
The Germans are apparently working on an anti-torpedo torpedo system as well. Looks like it uses a torpedo similar in size to a conventional light weight torpedo. https://navaltoday.com/2019/04/05/germanys-seaspider-anti-torpedo-torpedo-passes-first-sea-trials/?uid=171
The US Navy has given up of the hard-kill system. Apparently the Russians think they have one. http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2019/june/7195-russian-surface-vessels-to-receive-new-anti-submarine-weapons.html
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