UGST "Physicist" - the main hope of the Russian Navy
Torpedo problem weapons- Probably the most acute and painful of all the problems that the Russian Navy faces today. At Military Review, this problem has been raised for nearly ten years now. For everyone who wants to deeply familiarize themselves with this problem, the author recommends a number of articles by Maxim Klimov: "Marine underwater weapons: problems and opportunities", "Arctic torpedo scandal", "Marine underwater powerlessness", «»"On the appearance of modern submarine torpedoes." These materials set out the main problems, their solutions, suggestions and recommendations.
This article discusses Russian and foreign experience in creating torpedo weapons, explores the development prospects of domestic torpedoes, draws conclusions and makes recommendations.
So, in torpedo building there are two competing areas: thermal torpedoes and electric torpedoes. The former are equipped with liquid fuel engines, the latter are equipped with electric motors powered by rechargeable batteries. Consider foreign experience in creating thermal and electric torpedoes.
Torpedo Mark 48
Torpedo Mark 48. Adopted by the U.S. Navy in 1972, but has since undergone a number of modernizations that allow it to remain one of the most advanced torpedoes in the world. It has a caliber of 533 mm, an axial piston engine running on Otto II fuel, instead of propellers - a water-jet propulsion, range - 38 km at 55 knots, 50 km at 40 knots, depth - up to 800 m. Guidance system - passive or active acoustic guidance, there is telecontrol over wired communication.
Torpedo Type 89. Adopted in 1989. It has a caliber of 533 mm, an axial piston engine running on Otto II fuel, a range of 39 km at 55 knots, 50 km at 40 knots, a depth of up to 900 m. Remote-controlled with a passive or active guidance system.
Torpedo Yu-6. Adopted in 2005. Caliber - 533 mm. The engine is an axial piston-powered Otto II fuel, with a range of 45 km at cruising speed; during an attack, a torpedo can accelerate to 65 knots. Guidance system - passive or active acoustic guidance, as well as guidance on the wake of the wake, possibly remote control. A feature of the torpedo is the ability to switch at any time between wired and acoustic guidance.
Spearfish torpedo caliber 533 mm. Adopted in 1992. The torpedo is powered by a water-jet propulsion connected to the Hamilton Sandstrand 21TP04 gas turbine engine using Otto II fuel and hydroxylammonium perchlorate as an oxidizing agent. Range - 54 km, maximum speed - 80 knots. Guidance system - remote control and active sonar. The torpedo is highly resistant to acoustic counteraction and evasion maneuvers. If Spearfish does not hit the target on the first attack, the torpedo automatically selects the appropriate re-attack mode.
Torpedo DM2A4 Seehecht
DM2A4 Seehecht - 533 mm torpedo. Adopted in 2004 year. Engine - electric powered by silver-zinc oxide rechargeable batteries. Range - 48 km at 52 nodes, 90 km - at 25 nodes. The first torpedo controlled by fiber optic cable. The homing of the homing head is a hydrodynamically optimized parabolic shape, which is aimed at reducing noise and cavitation torpedoes to an absolute minimum. The conformal matrix of homing sensors allows you to determine the detection angles +/– 100 ° horizontally and +/– 24 ° vertically, which provides higher capture angles compared to traditional flat matrices. An active sonar is used as a guidance system.
In 2012, the export version of the DM2A4 Seehecht torpedo, SeaHake mod 4 ER, broke all records in range and reached over 140 kilometers. This was made possible by the addition of additional modules with rechargeable batteries, which led to an increase in the length of the torpedo from 7 to 8,4 m.
Torpedo WASS Black Shark
533 mm torpedo WASS Black Shark. Adopted in 2004. As an energy source in the torpedo "Black Shark" used batteries based on aluminum and silver oxide. They supply electricity to both the propulsion engine and the guidance equipment. The range is 43 km at 34 knots and 70 km at 20.
Search for a target and guidance on it is carried out using control equipment that is able to work automatically and by operator’s commands. Acoustic guidance system ASTRA (Advanced Sonar Transmitting and Receiving Architecture, "Advanced sonar architecture with transmission and reception") can operate in active and passive modes. In passive mode, torpedo automation monitors the surrounding space and searches for targets by the noise they produce. Stated the ability to accurately determine target noise and immunity to interference.
In active mode, the guidance system emits an acoustic signal, the reflection of which determines the distance to various objects, including the target. As in the case of the passive channel, measures have been taken to filter out interference, echo, etc.
To increase the combat characteristics and the likelihood of hitting complex targets, the Black Shark torpedo has a command control system via fiber optic cable. If necessary, the operator of the complex can take control and adjust the trajectory of the torpedo. Thanks to this, the torpedo can be not only aimed at the target with greater accuracy, but also redirected after launching at another enemy object.
Torpedo F-21 caliber 533 mm. Adopted in 2018. The energy source is rechargeable batteries based on AgO-Al. The maximum range is more than 50 km. The maximum speed is 50 knots. The maximum depth is 600 m. The guidance system is active-passive with remote control.
Russia has experience in the production and operation of both electric and thermal torpedoes. The electric ones today are represented by the USET-80 torpedo with a caliber of 533 mm, adopted for service in 1980. The torpedo is driven by an electric motor powered by a seawater-activated copper-magnesium battery. The maximum range is 18 km, the maximum speed is 45 knots. The maximum depth of application is 1000 m. The guidance system is two-channel along the active-passive acoustic channel and the guidance channel along the wake of the ship.
The path of this torpedo to the Navy from the very beginning was not easy. Firstly, the torpedo received copper-magnesium batteries instead of silver-magnesium, which were originally planned. The problem with copper-magnesium batteries is that they have never been tested for cold water charging in the Arctic. It is possible that USET-80 in these conditions is generally not operational.
Secondly, it turned out that the homing system of a torpedo often does not “see” the target. This problem was especially acute during tests in the Barents Sea, where shallow depths, a rocky bottom, temperature changes, and sometimes ice on the surface - all this creates a lot of interference for the homing system. As a result, by 1989, the torpedo received a new two-plane active-passive guidance system “Ceramics”, which was replicated from the American torpedo developed in the 1960s on the domestic element base of SSN.
Thirdly, the efficiency of the torpedo motor is very low, strong sparking on the collectors, powerful pulsed radiation, which interferes with the operation of the electronics. That is why the USET-80 has a small range of target capture by the homing head.
Today, the USET-80 is the main torpedo of Russian submarines.
Thermal torpedoes in our navy were represented by a torpedo 65-76A caliber 650 mm. The increase in caliber was made for the possibility of installing a nuclear warhead. The torpedo was powered by a gas turbine power plant powered by hydrogen peroxide, instead of propellers, a water-jet propulsion was used. According to various sources, the maximum speed of the torpedo reached from 50 to 70 knots, and the cruising range was up to 100 km at a cruising speed of 30-35 knots. The maximum depth of the torpedo is 480 m. The homing system is active, determining the wake of the target. Remote control is not provided. The current status of the torpedo is unknown: according to official data, it was withdrawn from service after the death of the Kursk nuclear submarine in 2000, which, according to official data, resulted again in the accident of the torpedo 65-76A. According to other sources, the torpedo is still in operation.
Prospects for domestic torpedo weapons
It cannot be said that the Ministry of Defense does not understand the need for adopting modern torpedoes. The work is underway. One of the directions is the development of a universal deep-sea homing torpedo "Physicist" / "Case". This work has been ongoing since 1986. A torpedo with a caliber of 533 mm has quite modern characteristics: range of up to 60 km, speed - up to 65 knots, depth of application - up to 500 m.The UGST is equipped with an axial piston engine running on a single-component liquid fuel, which drives a low-noise water-jet propulsion. The torpedo guidance system detects submarines at a distance of 2,5 km, surface ships - at a distance of 1,2 km. In addition to the homing mode, the torpedo has telecontrol over wires with a range of up to 25 km, as well as a course following mode (with a given number of knees and lapels).
To reduce noise and increase maneuverability at the initial stage of the path, the UGST is equipped with two-plane rudders that extend beyond the caliber of the torpedo after it leaves the torpedo tube.
The status of the torpedo is currently unknown. There is evidence of its adoption, however, data on serial purchases of UGST “Physicist” / “Case” have not been received to date.
Another promising development of the Russian torpedo industry is the universal electric torpedo UET-1, developed by JSC Dagdiesel Plant (Kaspiysk) within the framework of the Ichthyosaurus development center. The torpedo has a caliber of 533 mm, cruising range - 25 km, speed - up to 50 knots, range of detection of underwater targets - up to 3,5 km (versus 1,5 km for the USET-80), in addition, the torpedo is capable of detecting the wake track of surface ships with a lifetime of up to 500 seconds. There is no telecontrol data. According to the latest data, UET-1 is already in mass production and in 2018 a contract was signed for the supply of 73 torpedoes to the fleet for a period until 2023.
A comparison of the armament base of our submarine forces (USET-80 torpedoes) with modern models of both thermal and electric torpedoes simply demonstrates the catastrophic lag of our Navy from the fleets of the leading countries of the world.
1. Our torpedoes have an almost 3 times shorter range.
2. Have a low speed - only 45 knots.
3. Do not have remote control.
4. They have a CCH with a short target capture range and low noise immunity.
5. Have problems with performance in the Arctic.
Some improvements were achieved as a result of the Ichthyosaurus rocket launcher on the UET-1 torpedo. Progress is evident in the CLP torpedoes, slightly improved transport characteristics. However, in comparison with the best examples of electric torpedoes, the UET-1 still looks pale in terms of range. It can be assumed that the torpedo failed to create a high-capacity battery. This looks plausible, given the state of our electrical industry, as well as the fact that the development of the torpedo was carried out by Dagdiesel on its own initiative.
A tool that can, if not eliminate, then significantly reduce the gap with leading manufacturers of torpedoes, is the development and adoption of the UGST “Physicist” / “Case”. This torpedo can not be called "unparalleled in the world", but it is a very modern and dangerous weapon for enemy submarines.
Obviously, in the near future, we should follow the path of creating thermal torpedoes, improving and developing the Physicist. Thermal torpedoes have a number of advantages over electric ones: thermal torpedoes are cheaper because they do not have an expensive battery, have a longer service life (the battery life produced by the Russian industry is about 10 years, after which the torpedoes are decommissioned), they can be used repeatedly, unlike electric ones. The latter is very important, since an increase in the number of torpedo launches is extremely necessary to improve the quality of training of the crews of our submarines. For example, the Americans in 2011-2012 Mark 48 mod 7 torpedoes launched more than three hundred times. There are no exact statistics on the training of our crews, but it is obvious that our submariners have much less practice of torpedo fire. The reason for this is the lack of rechargeable thermal torpedoes.
DEPL project 636 "Varshavyanka" - a good submarine with backward torpedoes
There is an opinion that the detection distance of the submarines is small, so large torpedo launch distances are not needed. However, it should be borne in mind that in the process of maneuvering during a battle, it is possible to increase the distance between submarines, and the Americans, for example, specifically work out the “distance gap” to be outside the range of our torpedoes. Thus, the low characteristics of torpedoes put our submarines in a very difficult position, practically leaving them no chance against the submarines of a potential enemy.
Long-range torpedoes are necessary not only against submarines. They are also needed against surface ships. Of course, there are anti-ship missiles against ships that have a much greater range than torpedoes. However, it is necessary to take into account the markedly increased quality of air defense / missile defense of the ships of a potential enemy. It is unlikely that the 4 “Caliber”, released from the submarine of project 636 “Varshavyanka”, will be able to break through not only the air defense orders, but even the air defense of a separate modern frigate. For example, a Saxony-type air defense frigate can simultaneously coordinate the flight of 32 missiles in the march section and 16 at the terminal stage. In addition, the launch of the RCC unmasks the submarine and puts it on the brink of death from aviation PLO enemy.
But to attack the warrant of ships with torpedoes, without revealing their position, as the Gotland type diesel-electric submarine crew did in the Joint Task Force Exercise exercises 06-2 in 2005, when the entire seventh AUG led by the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was conditionally interrupted and multipurpose nuclear submarines ... Israelis and Australians achieved similar results on their diesel-electric submarines. So the use of submarines armed with torpedoes against the NK is still relevant. Only the most low-noise submarines and modern torpedoes are needed.
Thus, the issue of torpedoes is the most pressing issue in modern stories Russian Navy. Moreover, modern torpedoes were needed yesterday, because today we are commissioning new Varshavyanki, Yaseni, Borei, we are introducing ... conditionally combat-capable ships that are almost unarmed against a probable enemy’s submarines! We do not have the right to send our submariners to almost inevitable death without a chance not only to carry out a combat mission, but simply to survive. The problem of creating modern torpedoes should be solved. There is a scientific and technical groundwork for this. It is necessary to resolutely approach the problem and work hard until it is completely eliminated.