Military Review

Firearms of combat swimmers

Firearms of combat swimmers

Since ancient times, the main weapons divers are considered to be a knife, but the enemy is better to stop on the way. For this purpose, long-range underwater firearms have been and are being developed all over the world.
We present you the arsenal of small arms of underwater fighters.
The main problem faced by engineers, was the resistance of water, the density of which is 800 times more than air.
Also, when firing automatic and semi-automatic weapons in a liquid medium, water entering the barrel led to accumulation of steam, which very quickly made the weapon unusable.
It is these two factors that have shown the importance of developing a new type of weapon, which was supposed to be effective and invisible both under water and on land.

Frank Liberator Underwater Weapons

The first to solve this problem with a simple patron was offered by Frank Liberatore, creating his "underwater weapon" in 1964 year. Liberatore's invention was a pole with a mortar mounted on the end with a rifle cartridge. In the same place, under the mortar, there was a thorn, which played the role of a trigger. When attacking a shark, it should have hit her with this spike, as a result of which a shot occurred.

Frank Liberator Underwater Weapons

"Shark Saber" Harry Bulfer

Later, in 1987, compatriot Liberatore engineer Harry Bumfer perfected the “underwater weapon” and called it “shark sword”. This is not to say that his innovation was something supernatural. The engineer simply moved the trigger to the other end of the pole, giving the opportunity to shoot at the enemy not only at close range, but also at a distance, albeit very small.

"Shark Saber" Harry Bulfer

Three-charge underwater device S. K. Van Vorges

The next person to improve the “underwater weapon” was the engineer Vorhes. His idea also did not differ in originality: he simply added a couple of additional trunks to the already existing system.

Three-charge underwater device S. K. Van Vorges

Underwater pistol R. Bara

One of the first such developments was the revolver of the American engineer R. Barr from the corporation AAI.

Underwater pistol R. Bara

The revolver Barra, released in 1969, was a simple pistol with a striker and six static barrels.
The main innovations were the foam casing, which gave the revolver zero buoyancy, not allowing it to sink or float, as well as special ammunition.
It is these munitions that largely determined the further development of underwater firearms. In fact, each cartridge was a separate barrel in which a needle-shaped bullet pushed by a wad was placed. The same wad, after the shot, sealed the barrel of the liner, preventing the powder gases from escaping, thereby not giving out the swimmer's location.
There is a legend that this revolver was used by English combat swimmers during the conflict on the Falkland Islands, but this is just a myth, since these weapons were in service with only Belgian commandos.

Revolver F. Stevens

Another model of foreign underwater weapons of “active” type - F. Stevens revolver has a rotating block of .NNXX 6 barrels (according to the American caliber system, according to the Russian - 38; 9,0) and shoots also with arrows.
Photo unfortunately could not be found.

Charles Lambert's shotgun

The American engineer Chandley, William Lambert, developed the multi-barreled “Jet rifle with a rotating striker” in 1964. This design somewhat resembles the previous one: an annular block of fixed barrel-cartridges (albeit 12 has already become them), a rotating firing pin, sequentially filling up the capsules of cartridges. The main difference is the use of jet bullets. The weapon turned out more bulky and massive, so the designer provided it with two handles for holding. The hammering of the hammer and its rotation to 30 ° is carried out by a self-cocking trigger mechanism due to the muscular effort of the shooter, as in a conventional revolver. Since this effort is quite significant, the trigger is made in the form of a massive brace, which is pressed with two or three fingers at once.

Underwater multi-bar jet device turret type Chengley V. Lambert

The large size of the trigger guard also facilitates the use of weapons in thick gloves. A perceptible drawback is the significant gas bubble formed during the shot, which unmasks the arrow and makes it difficult to accurately aim for the next shot.

Cartridge with a reactive bullet-harpoon.

In this design were used shells "Lancetzhet" (Lancejet - "reactive spear"), created by the Californian company MVA.A. in the framework of work on reactive small arms (see). The projectile had a caliber 6,4 mm, length 300 mm, starting mass 55,7 g, a powder jet engine. Under such projectiles were made of aluminum alloy launchers with a length of 456 mm - single-shot with an unloaded weight of 0,45 kg and a six-shot weight of 0,68 kg.
The complete combustion of the powder charge of the engine and, consequently, the achievement of maximum speed occurred at a distance of 2,4 m from the muzzle of the starting device. The projectile energy was enough to break through the 2-inch (50,8-mm) plywood board at a distance of 7,5 m (sources do not indicate the depth of the test). However, the strongest penetrative and stopping action is useless if the projectile passes the target. And in the case of the underwater Lunjetjet, as with the other variants of jet weapons, the accuracy was low — only half of the shells hit the target at the same distance in 40 cm, which did not give hope for a reliable defeat of the enemy.

Multiply smooth-bore underwater rifles

In the USA, multi-charge smooth-bore underwater guns with barrels having three channels for 12 mm caliber, designed to protect swimmers from sharks and other marine animals, and a mortar gun, were also developed. But all these samples are of interest only from the point of view of the analysis of the variety of technical solutions.

Special underwater pneumatic gun

German underwater gun BUW-2

In 1971, in Germany, AJW developed the underwater gun BUW-2. This is a semi-automatic semi-automatic starting device firing active-reactive bullets with hydrodynamic stabilization. Cartridges are placed in 4 trunks, which form a single use unit. The press also reported that foreign air swimmers had universal air guns in service, which ensured firing range under water to 10 m and in the air to 250 m. Steel needles with 4-5 mm caliber and 30-60 mm serve as ammunition. Moreover, the needles can be supplied with ampoules with toxic substances. The capacity of the store is 15-20 needles. However, analyzing the characteristics of the pistol, it seems very doubtful that the specified firing ranges would be achieved. Even approximate calculations show that such shooting is possible only under the condition of gas pressure in the barrel bore about 2000 kg / m2 and more, and for this purpose powder charge is necessary.

Underwater Store Harpoon Rifle V. Lincoln Bar

The rifle turned out to be similar in appearance to the Lambert construction discussed above, but the principal difference is the rotating drum with a block of 13 launch tubes with jet booms and fixed strikes. The weapon is essentially a bulky revolver. The tubes are arranged in the drum as follows: one is in the center, and around the central tube there are 12 in two concentric circles (6 in each row). Three drummers: one central and one for each (external and internal) row of tubes.

Underwater Store Harpoon Rifle W. Lincoln Barr

The self-cocking trigger and locking mechanisms provide for consistent firing, first from the outer ring of the barrels, then from the inner, and the final shot is fired from the central barrel. Each boom is equipped with a miniature solid-propellant jet engine at the back, which has a cap on the rear end wall, which is activated when it strikes a striker and ignites the engine's powder checker. Under the pressure of powder gases, the arrow flies out of the barrel in the direction of the target. To reload the weapon, the drum is separated from the body, loaded with arrows and re-inserted into place. Large ammunition allows the underwater warrior quite a long firefight

The design of the cartridge-stem

German pistol P11

An original approach to the development of weapons for combat swimmers was Heckler Koch. In her P11 pistol, she used a plug-in block of five pre-equipped barrels, providing a shot without the formation of gas bubbles. The barrels are charged at the factory, can be recharged only in a special workshop.
The most unusual part of the P11 was the electronic trigger mechanism that triggered the electrocaps of the “barrels”. The electronic mechanism, well known for the target sporting arms, provides a low pull force, which is adjustable over a wide range during operation. But in conditions of such an aggressive environment as sea water, its reliability causes concern.

Underwater pistol Heckler Koch HK P11

According to the authoritative publisher Jane's, pistols of this type are in service with combat swimmers from countries such as Germany, Italy, France, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and others.
The gun is designed to conduct combat operations under water, where conventional bullets lose effectiveness at a distance of about one meter, or even less, depending on the depth. Therefore, special ammunition with a nominal caliber 11mm has been developed for the P7.62, firing long needle-like bullets that stabilize well in water. Ammunition is factory-equipped in five-barreled blocks of barrels, which are mounted on the frame of a weapon with a pistol grip. After shooting all 5 charges from the barrels, the block of barrels is removed and discarded, or stored for later returning to the factory for reloading (if the shooting was carried out in training conditions). The charge ignition is electric, the power source (two 9-volt batteries) is located in a sealed compartment in the pistol grip. The effective firing range is up to 15 meters under water and up to 30 meters - in the air.

Special cartridge caliber 7,62-mm for pistol P-11

Cartridge with armor piercing bullet

Underwater shooting bullet

A cartridge for silent and flameless shooting in the air was loaded with a 7,62-mm bullet with an initial speed of 190 meters per second. The cartridge consists of a plastic sleeve and a bronze obturator with a flange and a screw thread for tightly fixing the cartridge in the barrel. The cartridges are filled with electrical ignition caps. There are several variants of the equipment of the cartridge: with a bullet with a lead core and an armor-piercing bullet with a steel core (the tip is painted black). Cartridges for firing under water are equipped with an all-metal arrow-shaped bullet caliber 4,8-mm. Presumably, the bullet is stabilized by the cavitation effect achieved by the complex geometry of the bullet.

SPP-1 special underwater pistol and special underwater automatic fire fighting machine APS

Of particular burning interest are the Soviet APS submachine gun (special submarine submachine gun) and the SPP-4 non-automatic 1-barrel pistol (special submarine pistol) designed for underwater shooting. These samples were created more than 20 years ago, but only at the beginning of the 90s they were officially presented to the public. To say that this complex of underwater weapons and ammunition aroused great interest among Western experts - it means to say nothing. It was a shock. And it was from what. This is due to the fact that, for example, in the USA, the problem of creating a submarine automatic machine was considered unsolvable in principle for a long time and stood on the real prospect of implementation along with the development of a perpetual motion machine and transparent tank (!).

Special underwater gun SPP-1

Automatic underwater special APS.

Ammunition 7,62x39; 4,5x39; 5,66х39 (USSR / Russia).

In the second half of the 1960s, units of combat swimmers appeared in our country: for example, in 1967 on the Black Sea navy a detachment was formed to combat submarine sabotage forces and means (PDSS). The reason for this was the work intensified abroad to create regular units of combat swimmers for reconnaissance and sabotage operations. The memory of the death of the battleship Novorossiysk in the Sevastopol Bay on October 29, 1955 was also fresh. Although the assumption of sabotage looked (and still looks) the least likely, it was impossible to discount such a danger. The soldiers, called upon to fight with underwater saboteurs, needed a weapon capable of firing under water. The 5,66-mm APS assault rifle and the 4,5-mm SPP-1 pistol created for this purpose are of particular interest in the range of underwater weapons due to unusual technical solutions. The spouses Elena and Vladimir Simonov were directly involved in the development of weapons (V.V. Simonov, the grand-nephew of the famous Soviet gunsmith S.G. Simonov). In 1968 The task was given to develop an underwater pistol, or rather, a pistol complex. TsNIItochmash and TOZ created a 4,5-mm cartridge and pistol, adopted for service in 1971. under the designation SPP-1 (special underwater gun). Note that in parallel with active SPP, the development of a 7,62 mm jet underwater pistol was conducted, which was preceded by the study of foreign jet samples. The development of an ATP cartridge (4,5x39) for SPP-1 was conducted by P.F. Sazonov and O.P. Kravchenko. The bullet of an underwater cartridge looks somewhat unusual. This is a needle weighing 13,2 g of large elongation (about 25: 1 - the length of the needle is 115 mm), commonly called a nail. The bunch is inserted into the sleeve of a conventional intermediate cartridge with a charge of gunpowder. Of course, measures are being taken to seal and increase the corrosion resistance of the cartridge. The nose of the bullet is biconical and slightly blunted. A bullet of such a large elongation pattern at a high speed of movement in water forms a cavitation bubble (cavern) around it, which is held throughout the entire path under water and serves as a stabilizer pool - a unique solution.

SPP-1 is a type of non-automatic multi-barreled pistols. A block of four smooth trunks is hingedly attached to the frame and rotates around its trunnions. For loading, he leans down - as in the "critical" hunting rifles, and locks, again, like a gun, on the lower hook and latch. Loading is done with a pack (clip) with four cartridges. When unlocking the block of barrels, the extractor shifts the pack with the spent cartridges back, making it easier and somewhat speeding up the reloading: under water the reloading process takes about 5 seconds.

The APS machine gun (“special underwater machine”, not to be confused with the “Stechkin automatic gun”) is designed for firing with special 5,66-mm cartridges MPS and MPST (tracer) of type 5,66x39. The cartridge (as well as the cartridge for the pistol) was developed at TsNIItochmash by Sazonov and Kravchenko on the basis of the sleeve of the intermediate cartridge and also filled with a “nail”. The length of the "nail" -120 mm, weight - 20,3-20,8 g, the entire cartridge - respectively 150 mm and 27-28 g.
The barrel is smooth. The work of automation is based on the removal of powder gases through an opening in the wall of the barrel, with a long stroke of the gas piston, there is a gas regulator. Locking the barrel - turn the shutter. Shot from the rear of the sear allows you to somewhat compensate for the effect of recoil, which is important under water. Nevertheless, the accuracy of the underwater gun shooting is small.
The trigger mechanism is assembled in a separate housing and allows for single or continuous fire (short - 3-5 shots and long - up to 10 shots in bursts), equipped with a flag-interpreter-fuse. Food - from detachable box magazine on 26 cartridges. The unusual shape of the magazine is associated with a large cartridge length and a relatively small width of the spring of the feeder. The long bullet gave rise to a number of problems in the supply of ammunition. Two rows of cartridges in the store are separated by a plate, the top bullets are held by a spring delay. Inside the receiver mounted cartridge cutter.

Chinese QST-05 Triangle Underwater Gun

In January, 2010 flashed some information on the Chinese CCTV channel about the creation in China of an 5,8 submarine pistol mm

Four-barreled SPP-1 (USSR / Russia) at the top, three-barreled QSS-05 (China) at the bottom

Chinese submarine shooting machine

Also in that 2010, on the Chinese CCTV channel, there was a report on the creation in China of an automatic submersible firing machine for the 5,8 caliber mm

Automatic underwater shooting

Chinese 5,8 mm Underwater Ammunition.

The similarity of Chinese designs with Soviet suggests that China followed in the footsteps of Soviet designers and decided not to play with complex electronic triggers like the Germans, jet arrows like the Americans, but simply recreated the analog (I will repeat once again specifically for fans who develop heated discussions about copying the Chinese of all that fell into their hands, ANALOGUE) of the Soviet underwater gun and machine gun.

Automatic two-medium ASM-DT "Sea Lion"

In order to expand the range of application of underwater automata based on the APS units and AKS-74U, an “underwater-air” automatic machine with interchangeable power was developed - the APS magazine with MPS cartridges or AK-74 cartridges with standard 5,45-mm cartridges mod. 1973 (7H6). As a result, an experimental amphibious (two-medium, underwater) automatic machine for ASM-DT "Sea Lion" was born.

Experimental amphibious (dvuhsredny, underwater) automatic machine ASM-DT "Sea Lion".

At the end of 1990, employees of the Tula Design Technological Institute of Mechanical Engineering (TPKTIMash), under the guidance of Dr. Yury Sergeevich Danilov, PhD in Technical Sciences, developed a unique AMF-DT amphibious automaton. This machine allows you to conduct effective fire under water with special ammunition with needle-like bullets of high elongation (structurally similar to the cartridges of the IPU and MPST from the APS assault rifle, but differing from them in the diameter of the needles). In the transition into the air in the slot instead of the store with underwater cartridges set the standard store of AK-74 machine with ammunition caliber 5,45h39mm (7N6, 7N10, 7N22 and others), which allows effective fire on targets on land at the firing range and accuracy, similar to those for the AKS-74U, and much better than the APS in the air.

Experimental automatic ASM-DT (special-purpose multi-purpose machine) “Sea Lion”.

Caliber: 5,45mm (5,45х39 М74 for above-water and 5,45х39 special for underwater shooting)
Type of automation: gas exhaust, locking by turning the bolt
Shop: 30 ammunition for the surface or 26 - for underwater shooting

The AFM-DT Sea Lion automatic remained a mere experimental weapon.
However, Danilov Yu.S. He did not stop at what had been accomplished and as a result, ADS (a two-medium special automaton) was born. Like its predecessor (ASM-DT), this prototype used various types of stores for surface and underwater shooting and had tactical and technical characteristics similar to the AFM-DT, but the layout of the machine was made according to the bullpup scheme.

One of the earliest prototypes of the ADS machine (A-91), created on the basis of the AFM-DT machine, in a configuration for shooting "in the air"

One of the earliest prototypes of the ADS machine (A-91), created on the basis of the ASM-DT machine, in a configuration for firing under water.

It is not known how fate, in my opinion, of fine samples of engineering thought ASM-DT and ADS (aka A-91), what model would be adopted, if it were not for the new improved model of ADS developed by Yuri Danilov new underwater cartridge 5,45х39 PSP

Schematic diagram of the ammunition 5,45x39 PSP automatic drone.

It was the development of this ammunition that significantly simplified the design of the two-medium automatic rifle.

The first versions of the modernized ADS chambered for PSP

The new "underwater" cartridge had the same external dimensions as the regular cartridge 5,45х39mm. The new cartridge, called the PSP, was equipped with a bullet with leading corbels of length 53 mm, which was recessed into the sleeve for most of its length. This made it possible to preserve the overall dimensions of the new cartridge in the size of a regular ground one, while ensuring the shape of the bullet suitable for use in the aquatic environment. The PSP is completed with a carbide (in fact, an armor-piercing) bullet with a mass of 16 grams, which has an initial velocity (in air) of the order of 330 m / s. In the aquatic environment, the stabilization of the bullet and the reduction of the resistance of the surrounding liquid is carried out by means of a cavitation cavity created around the bullet when moving at the expense of a flat pad in the nose of the bullet. The effective firing range of a PSP chuck under water is approximately 25 meters at a depth of 5 meters and up to 18 meters at a depth of immersion 20 meters. For training and training, a training underwater cartridge PSP-U has been developed, which has a 8 gram bronze bullet with a lower effective firing range and lower penetrability. When firing under water, the PSP cartridge is superior to the 5.6mm MPS cartridges from the automatic fire alarm system in combat effectiveness. By virtue of the standard dimensions, the 5.45 PSP and PSP-U cartridges can be used from ordinary standard magazines from AK-74 machines.

Final version:

Avtomatno - rocket launcher complex ADS

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  1. Bongo
    Bongo 22 January 2014 08: 59
    Excellent, fairly competent and well-illustrated article.
  2. makarov
    makarov 22 January 2014 09: 13
    Solid material. The author probably forgot to mention the Yugoslav unit in the park. From memory, there the cartridges were made by the type of shot in a confined space, i.e. with a cutoff.
    1. Old_kapitan
      Old_kapitan 22 January 2014 09: 42
      by type of shot in a confined space, i.e. with a cutoff.
      If with a cut-off, then it is more like silent.
      1. makarov
        makarov 22 January 2014 11: 09
        SSU underwater pistol (Yugoslavia
    2. rolik2
      22 January 2014 13: 07
      I definitely forgot although I did the bookmark))

  3. mirag2
    mirag2 22 January 2014 09: 19
    Yes, many rare samples are presented.
  4. avt
    avt 22 January 2014 10: 02
    good Solid article, a good review is given. Well, the engineering solution of the ADS is simple good It seems well, however, how simple everything is, if you do not know what path went from "Thunderstorm" to ADS.
  5. bazilio
    bazilio 22 January 2014 10: 29
    Thank you for the article.

    Of all the options presented, whatever one may say, the Soviet systems (SPP and APS) are the most optimal. The design is not bulky, the recharge process is simple, the efficiency is high, but it is achieved with "little blood". The ammunition is just as simple.
    1. Walking
      Walking 22 January 2014 16: 05
      For this simplicity, years of research and the work of engineers.
  6. klim44
    klim44 22 January 2014 17: 42
    In the photo at the beginning of the article, the second from the right is the seabit "fur seal" GDP ????
  7. dmitry21
    dmitry21 23 January 2014 21: 45
    finally I looked at the Barrovsky meat grinder, thanks. the first time I read about it from D. Koretsky ...
  8. dmitry21
    dmitry21 23 January 2014 21: 47
    Incidentally, and ADS generally unique!
  9. Bur39
    Bur39 28 January 2014 22: 57
    Thanks for the article, very interesting and informative.