Range Of Torpedoes Continues To Be A Challenge As Nations Push Ahead With New Torpedo Program

Torpedoes behave similarly to HE shells in that they generate damage with an explosive wave, and the mass of their warhead allows them to mitigate any armor. Torpedo damage, on the other hand, is mitigated by armor. Like any HE shell, a torpedo has a cube-shaped effective explosion area. The cube of a torpedo is the same size as the cube of a HE shell on a battleship. The torpedo cube, on the other hand, damages all ship elements within its range. The amount of damage is determined by the overlapping volume of the cube and a ship’s section. As a result, the maximum torpedo damage is the total damage to a ship’s section and hull, plus the maximum damage delivered by the explosion wave cube.

The torpedo cube causes damage to and can destroy the ship’s components. Ammunition, engine rooms, and steering gears are among the first to suffer. However, other modules may also be affected because the torpedo explosion wave disregards any armor. The anti-torpedo protection aboard a battleship is a specially designed underwater ship element that weakens the torpedo explosion force and keeps it from destroying the essential compartments. Because the forward and rear ends of most ships lack anti-torpedo protection, they take the most damage, whereas all boats, except destroyers, have anti-torpedo protection in the center.


So, why do so many contemporary torpedoes purposefully miss their target while striking it directly? It has been demonstrated that a torpedo detonation just under the target does more damage. The explosion causes high-expanding gas to form a giant bubble that travels faster than sound and generates a high shock wave. The bubble then collapses in on itself, putting further stress on the ship. If the detonation occurs just under the center of the vessel, the damage will be greatest because the strains cause the ship to split in half and the detonation causes the middle piece to lift. When the bubble collapses in on itself, the lack of water supplying buoyancy for the middle section draws it down, causing it to break in half, hence a perfect hit is not always a direct hit.


Torpedo Technology Development


Manufacturers are pushing new devices for countering torpedoes, surface ships’ most vexing enemy, as those missiles become sophisticated enough to change the balance of power in naval confrontations. Developers are increasingly offering kinetic, or hard-kill, interceptors capable of overcoming the seeker trickery that massive, sophisticated torpedoes now feature to sniff out targets. The idea of blowing up torpedoes as they approach fits into a trend in which decoys are becoming increasingly ineffectual against torpedoes capable of circling and reengaging a ship after missing it on the initial pass. The system may not be effective against more advanced seekers trained to detect and follow the wake of a ship. Simply put, those wake-homing torpedoes are dreaded because they are impenetrable by song. The weapons engage their targets by aligning themselves with the bubbles of a spacecraft’s propulsion system and approaching from behind – it may take many passes to identify the correct ship.


 Torpedo Programs


The High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability, or HAAWC, has been added to the arsenal of the United States Navy’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The service has recently announced its first operational capability with HAAWC, which converts air-dropped Mk 54 lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes into long-range, rapidly delivered standoff weapons. Boeing, the manufacturer of the HAAWC, revealed today in a news release that the Navy had declared IOC with the system. The Navy had awarded Boeing a full-rate production contract for the HAAWC kits, worth up to $121,426,700 if all options are exercised. Air-dropped anti-submarine torpedoes must normally be launched at extremely low altitudes – often as low as 100 feet above the water – and reasonably near to the target. HAAWC will enable Navy P-8A aircrew to fire Mk 54 torpedoes from greater distances, lowering their potential vulnerability to opposing air defenses in the vicinity.


Russia is developing a new behemoth torpedo. Poseidon is the code name for the status 6 oceanic multi-purpose system. The weapons system’s first public report was in September 2015. Poseidon is a torpedo-shaped unmanned drone that can be placed into and released by a submarine. A Poseidon drone may also lie dormant in a box on the ocean floor, waiting for a signal to reactivate it before unleashing its apocalyptic attack. Once armed and activated, Poseidon has a range of 10,000 kilometers and can move ominously across the ocean for weeks or even months to its objective. The drone travels slowly to evade detection, but when it gets close to an enemy coastline, it speeds up to almost 100 miles per hour to detonate its nuclear bomb before it is noticed. The bomb carried by the Poseidon drone is said to be the most powerful nuclear warhead ever developed, capable of releasing 200 megatons of destructive power. The Russian Navy is thought to have already ordered thirty-four of these autonomous gigantic torpedoes, with half going to the Arctic Fleet and the other half going to the Pacific Fleet.

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