Military Review

Torpedoes ET-46 and ET-56

In 1941, the Soviet fleet The first domestic electric torpedo ET-80 was adopted. it weapon produced serially, but could not win the respect of submariners. During the Great Patriotic War, only a few dozen such torpedoes were used. The main reason for this was the relatively low speed and low reliability, which several times led to an explosion of torpedoes, including on board the submarine carrier. Nevertheless, thanks to the ET-80 project, in practice, it was possible to test and prove the viability of torpedoes with electrical power plants, which made it possible to continue work in a promising direction. Already after the end of the war a new electric torpedo ET-46 was developed.

The torpedo ET-80 could reach speeds up to 29 knots and cover the distance to 4000 meters. Such weapon characteristics allowed submarines to attack enemy ships, but to some extent made it difficult to prepare for firing. For this reason, submariners preferred to use steam-gas torpedoes and literally shied away from taking on weapons with electric motors. However, the electric power plant had some advantages over the combined-cycle gas, namely, greater secrecy of work. During operation, the electric motor produced less noise and did not throw the gas-vapor mixture overboard, forming a trace on the surface of the water.

Thus, the further development of electric torpedoes was considered expedient and promising. As a result, after adopting the ET-80, work on the subject of torpedoes with electric motors did not stop. The following results of these works appeared after the end of World War II.


The disadvantage of the ET-80 torpedo was the insufficient battery capacity, due to which the speed and range of this product left much to be desired. To improve performance, it was necessary to create a new battery, characterized by an increased capacity and capable of ensuring a longer operation of the electric motor. In addition, there was a need to develop an engine of increased power, which could accelerate the torpedo to high speeds. Otherwise, the existing design suited both the customer and the industry, which made it possible to create a new torpedo by upgrading the existing product.

The project of modernization of the existing torpedo ET-80 was developed in 1946 by engineers of the Engineer's Special Design Bureau (Leningrad). The works were supervised by the designer P.V. Matveyev. The project received the factory designation "Product 579". Later the name ET-46 appeared - “Electric torpedo arr. 1946

Torpedoes ET-46 and ET-56
Torpedo ET-46 in section. Figure

To speed up work on the creation of new weapons, it was decided to use the borrowing method of other people's developments. In connection with the end of the war, Soviet specialists gained access to various samples of German weapons and equipment, as well as to the documentation on these products. Among other products, the German electric torpedo G7e became the trophy of the Red Army. This product was supposed to "share" with the new Soviet torpedo some technologies and technical solutions. Trophy torpedoes have undergone a thorough study, the results of which the Soviet experts have developed several new devices for advanced weapons.

The proposal to use new internal units made it possible to maintain the existing torpedo body without making any changes to its design. It also remained old (adjusted for the size and configuration of the new nodes) and the layout of the internal hull volumes. A cylindrical body with a hemispherical head fairing and a cone-shaped stern was retained. On the aft of the hull stabilizers were fixed with rudders of depth and direction, with the help of connecting rods with steering gears. At the head of the torpedo there was a fighting compartment, behind which a large battery was installed. The control equipment and the electric motor were located in the tail section. The torpedo had a caliber of 533 mm and a total length of 7,45 m. The total weight of the structure was 1810 kg.

For the destruction of target ships, it was proposed to use an explosive charge weighing 450 kg. Compartment for explosives located in the head of the case. A nest was provided for the installation of a contact fuse, which provides for undermining the charge in a collision with a target. The composition and volume of the fighting compartment were determined in accordance with the main task - the attack and the destruction of surface ships or enemy ships.

The entire central part of the case was occupied by a lead-acid short-charge reusable rechargeable battery of type B-6-IV. In its composition there were 74 separate battery, mounted on a common metal frame. The design of the latter ensured the placement of all elements of the battery along the central part of the body and the correct balancing of a rather heavy unit. As the anodes in the composition of the batteries used plates of spongy lead. The functions of the cathode were solid cemented lead dioxide. The free volume of the battery was filled with electrolyte, which was used as an aqueous solution of hydrochloric acid. The new battery design, despite a noticeable reduction in the number of individual batteries, has improved the characteristics of the torpedo in comparison with the base product.

Directly behind the battery, it was proposed to install a bi-axial DC electric motor of the PM5-3М type, which was a further development of the PM5-2 product (ET-80 torpedo engine). As in the case of the previous model's electric torpedo, the engine transmitted torque to two shafts, each of which had its own propeller screw. Birotivnaya engine design with movable rotor and stator greatly simplified the architecture of the power plant, because it allows you to do without additional gearboxes or differentials that distribute torque to the two screws. A similar engine has already been used in the ET-80 product and has shown itself well.

The terms of reference for the "Product 579" implied the construction of a so-called. straight torpedoes. The control system was to ensure the preservation of the course set at the shot. Thus, the finished torpedo received a relatively simple automatic control of the “classical” type based on a hydrostat and a gyroscopic control device. Before firing, the depth of the stroke from 1 to 14 m was entered into the apparatus, and the course was maintained automatically in accordance with the direction of the launch.

Torpedo ET-80 - the basis for the first post-war torpedoes. Photo

Due to the use of ready-made units and the available developments, the process of creating a new torpedo was significantly accelerated. Prototypes of the 579 Product were assembled and tested before the end of 1946. Soon after, the new torpedo was adopted by the submarine forces of the navy under the official designation ET-46, after which its mass production was deployed.

During the tests, it was found that the updated power plant based on the new battery and engine allows the torpedo to reach speeds up to the 31 node. For comparison, the base ET-80 arr. 1942 r. Could accelerate to 29 nodes. At the same time, it was possible to increase the stroke range by one and a half times. New ET-46, using battery power, could overcome up to 6 km. Thus, in the absence of a serious increase in speed, it was possible to ensure a significant increase in the stroke range. As a result, the new torpedo, in comparison with the existing one, should have become a more effective weapon.

Soon after the official adoption of the torpedo ET-46 went into the series. Weapons of this type were produced by the Leningrad plant "Engine" and delivered to the fleet. There is no exact information on the number of torpedoes fired, but there is reason to believe that at least several hundred of such products were made, which were transferred to all the main navy associations.

ET-46 was the first domestic torpedo developed after the end of World War II. Due to the absence of conflicts with the participation of the Soviet Navy, similar torpedoes were actively used for training purposes, but were never used in combat. The operation of the torpedoes "Product 579" / ET-46 continued, according to various sources, until the end of the fifties. After that, the torpedoes of the 1946 model of the year were removed from service, discarded and disposed of in connection with the appearance of a new weapon with enhanced characteristics. In particular, the mass production of self-guided torpedoes and torpedoes with thermal power plants began. Straight torpedoes with relatively low speed and range no longer had prospects, because of which they were gradually removed from service.


In the mid-fifties, an attempt was made to develop a new torpedo for submarines, which is a modernized version of the existing ET-46. The existing product was proposed to be equipped with an updated power plant, which made it possible to count on a slight increase in performance. In addition, to solve the tasks had to apply some other improvements.

The development of a new modification of the existing torpedo was carried out by specialists from the Scientific Research Institute-400 and the SKB of the Engine plant. The main designer of the project was D.N. Ostrovsky. The project received the factory designation "Product 837". Subsequently, the name ET-56 appeared, reflecting the type of torpedo and the year of adoption.

The hull of the new torpedo was borrowed from the existing product, but some minor changes were made to its design. The dimensions and contours of this unit remained the same. In this case, the layout of the internal units was adjusted. One of the most notable results of processing was a reduction in the length of the fighting compartment with a decrease in the weight of the explosive, with which the space for a larger battery was freed up. Due to such a change in the head of the case, the weight of the explosive was reduced by one and a half times - to 300 kg.

In the central part of the case, a new high-capacity BAM-3 type lead-acid battery was installed. In addition, the torpedo was equipped with a new electric motor with improved performance, developed on the basis of existing products of the “PM” family. A characteristic feature of the new power plant has become a large mass of units, which affected the overall performance of the torpedo. Because of this, even with a reduction in the weight of the warhead, the total mass of the torpedo increased to 2 t.

The torpedo control system as a whole remained the same. With the help of a gyroscopic device, she monitored the deviation of the product from the course set by the torpedo device and issued commands to the steering machines, thereby correcting the trajectory of movement. The depth of the course followed the hydrostat associated with the drives of the rudders. The permissible depth remains the same - it could be set in the range from 1 to 14 m.

The use of a new battery and a more powerful engine had an effect on the weight of the torpedo, however it allowed to increase the speed of travel. During the tests, experienced 837 Products developed speeds up to 36 nodes. The course range remains the same - up to 6 km. Thus, the new torpedo had a noticeable advantage over the base-type model and could be a more effective submarine weapon.

All major work on the new project, including testing, was completed in 1956 year. At the same time, a new torpedo was put into service and launched its mass production. By the year of adopting the "Product 837" received the official designation ET-56. Serial production, according to some, was deployed at the plant "Engine".

The loading of the German torpedo G7e submarine. Photo

By the mid-fifties, the Soviet industry developed several new projects of torpedo weapons, which used not only modern power plants, but also the first domestic homing systems. In this connection, straight-forward torpedoes, capable only of maintaining the initially set course, were no longer of interest to the fleet. One consequence of this was the limited release of ET-56 products. For several years of the second half of the fifties, only about a hundred of such torpedoes were assembled and transferred to the fleet, after which their construction was curtailed in favor of the new weapon with enhanced characteristics.

Small volumes of output affected the operation of weapons by the fleet. In the second half of the fifties, Soviet submariners were developing new self-guided torpedoes, which led to a significant reduction in the attention paid to obsolete systems. As a result, the torpedoes of the ET-56 were not used very actively for training purposes, and a few years after they were put into service, they were actually abandoned. A complete rejection of such weapons occurred, according to reports, before the end of the first half of the sixties. By this time, new self-guided torpedoes were already in service with the submarine forces of the Soviet Navy, which significantly increased the submarine strike potential.


The electric traceless straight torpedo ET-46 was the first product of its class, created in our country after World War II. Ten years after its adoption, a modernized version of the ET-56 was developed, featuring a slightly higher performance. These products have become important milestones in stories domestic mine-torpedo weapons, but with a certain time ceased to organize the military. Despite the design that was progressive for its time, the ET-46 and ET-56 torpedoes had insufficient characteristics, which ultimately led to their complete abandonment.

One of the reasons for the refusal of the torpedoes ET-46 and ET-56 was the appearance of homing weapons, significantly increasing the effectiveness of the attack. The emergence and development of such weapons made straight torpedoes unnecessary. It is noteworthy that the first domestic electric torpedoes became the basis for such systems. So, in 1951, the self-guided torpedo SAET-50, developed on the basis of ET-46, was adopted. Thus, the first post-war torpedoes with electric motors could not fully gain a foothold in the fleet armaments nomenclature, but they contributed to the further development of submarine weapons.

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  1. Amurets
    Amurets 18 March 2016 12: 32
    I rummaged through a bunch of literature but never found anything about batteries with hydrochloric acid electrolyte. Where did the author get this data?
  2. dushmann
    dushmann 18 March 2016 16: 40
    The device of the battery and battery assembly is described in sufficient detail ... Indeed, the electrolyte is based on hydrochloric acid. And it was lead-acid that was used everywhere, and only in 1964 did they put lead-zinc on the SET-53M torpedo instead of T-7 batteries (further development of the B-battery 6). Yours faithfully
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 19 March 2016 00: 39
      Quote: dushmann
      The device of the battery and battery assembly is described in sufficient detail ... Indeed, the electrolyte is based on hydrochloric acid. And it was lead-acid that was used everywhere, and only in 1964 did they put lead-zinc on the SET-53M torpedo instead of T-7 batteries (further development of the B-battery 6). Yours faithfully

      This is the only mention that I found. The book is in my paper version. Neither Korshunov, nor Shirokorad, nor in the special literature on batteries did I find what advantages electrolyte gave on hydrochloric acid.
  3. mine
    mine 19 March 2016 16: 43
    Tukhlyatina in the form of a "Source" is 5!

    If the afftor had taken an interest in normal sources, he would have known that the ET-56 is our first DEEP-WATER torpedo (and, accordingly, there could be no question of any "ET-46 hull")

    Well, according to ET-46 - at the end of 60x the remaining torpedoes in the USSR Navy were transferred to the DPRK
  4. mine
    mine 19 March 2016 16: 47
    > in 1951, the SAET-50 homing torpedo, developed on the basis of the ET-46, was adopted.

    CAET-50 is almost a copy of German TV (at our production base)