The world’s deadliest torpedoes

Torpedoes are the most preferred lethal underwater weapons for naval platforms such as submarines, surface vessels, aircraft and helicopters. Naval-technology.com lists the world’s most advanced torpedoes based on performance characteristics such as speed, range and operating depth.


Black shark torpedo

Black Shark Torpedo

The Black Shark Advanced (BSA), a new generation multi-role heavyweight torpedo fired from submarines or surface ships, is designed to counter threats from all surface and underwater platforms. The Black Shark is intended to replace the ageing A-184 heavyweight torpedo used by the Italian Navy.

The Black Shark is currently being produced by Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS) for several major naval forces and has been integrated into Scorpene, U209, U214 and U212 submarines.

The wire guided, self-homing torpedo has 21-inch diameter and integrates an ASTRA (Advanced Sonar Transmitting and Receiving Architecture) and high explosive warhead. The propulsion system with Al-AgO battery, contra-rotating brushless motor and skewed propellers ensures a maximum speed of 50kt and range of 50km.

F21 Heavyweight Torpedo

The F21 heavyweight torpedo from DCNS is a dual-purpose torpedo that is effective against submarines and surface vessels. It will replace F17 mod2 torpedo aboard the French Navy's submarine fleet.

The 1.3t F21 can be integrated into all types of submarines including nuclear-powered SSBNs and SNs as well as diesel-electric types, and can be launched in swim-out or push-out modes. It incorporates a new-generation acoustic head from Thales Underwater System, in addition to an impact/acoustic fuse warhead.

The F21 can be operated in depth ranging from 10m to 500m and is driven by electric propulsion based on the silver oxide-aluminium (AgO-Al) primary battery providing a speed of 25kt to 50kt, range of over 50km and endurance of one hour.

Spearfish torpedo

Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo

The Spearfish advanced heavy weight torpedo from BAE Systems is effective against submarine and surface threats in oceanic and coastal waters. The 1.85t torpedo is in service with the submarine fleet of the UK Royal Navy.

The Spearfish carries Aluminised PBX explosive warhead of 300kg and is directed towards the target by high-capacity guide wire system and passive and active sonar.

Its power plant is composed of a gas turbine engine using Otto Fuel as a liquid monopropellant, and Hydroxyl Ammonium Perchlorate (HAP) as oxidant. The propulsion system allows the Spearfish to engage targets within 48km at low speed.

Torpedo 62

Torpedo 62 (Torpedo 2000)

The Torpedo 62 (Export designation: Torpedo 2000) from Saab is a dual-purpose heavy weight torpedo system in use with the submarine fleet of the Royal Swedish Navy. It can be effectively launched against all types of submarines and surface ships.

The Torpedo 62 has a launch weight of 1,450kg and can carry high explosive warhead. The torpedo operates at depths of 500m and is guided by active/passive homing system.

The torpedo is propelled by an advanced pump jet engine and can engage targets within the range of over 40km, at a maximum speed of 40kt.

DM2A4/SeaHake mod 4

The DM2A4 Seehecht (Export Name: SeaHake mod 4) is the main under water weapon of the German Navy's Type 212 submarines. The heavyweight torpedo, weighing 1.37t, can be launched from both submarines and surface ships.

Developed by Atlas Elektronik, the SeaHake mod 4 torpedo employs fibre optic wire guidance to accurately engage underwater and above-water targets, and carries a 255kg warhead.

The torpedo is equipped with a high frequency permanent magnet motor and silver zinc battery modules ensuring a maximum speed of 50kt and a range of over 50km (27nmi).

Shkval-E

Shkval-E

The Shkval-E is a high-speed unguided underwater missile produced by "Region" State Research & Production Enterprise of Tactical Missiles Corporation JSC. The weapon system can be installed on surface vessels and submarines, and can be launched at up to Sea State 4 from a water depth of 30m.

The underwater weapon weighs 2,700kg and carries high-explosive warhead (210kg TNT equivalent) with an impact proximity fuse.

The propulsion system consisting of hydro-reactive jet and solid-fuel rocket booster provides a high speed of over 200kt. The torpedo has an effective launch range of 7km and cruising range of 10km.

MK48-CBASS

Mk48 ADCAP Mod 7 CBASS

The Mk48 ADCAP Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) developed by Lockheed Martin uses active and/or passive homing, broadband sonar guidance and advanced counter-countermeasures to detect, track and engage targets in deep and shallow waters. It is the most advanced heavyweight torpedo in use with the submarine fleet of the US Navy and allied nations.

The torpedo has a launch weight of 1,676kg and can hold a 292.5kg high explosive warhead, and
is powered by a piston engine using Otto Fuel II monopropellant. The maximum speed and range of the torpedo are over 28kt and 8km respectively.

MU90 torpedo

MU90/Impact

The MU90/IMPACT advanced lightweight torpedo produced by EuroTorp, a consortium of WASS, DCNS International and Thales, is fully interoperable with NATO standard torpedo tubes and airborne bomb racks.

This third generation torpedo, weighing 304kg and operating at depths of more than 1,000m, is intended to fulfil the anti-submarine warfare operational requirements of the 21st century. It is being used by the naval forces of France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland and Australia.

The electrically-propelled underwater weapon is powered by Aluminium-Silver Oxide sea water battery. The propulsion system ensures a maximum speed of 50kt and range of over 23km at minimum speed.

MK 54 torpedo

MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo

The MK 54 built by Raytheon is the most used light weight torpedo platform in the word and utilises the proven technologies of MK 50 and MK 48 ADCAP torpedoes.

The torpedo can be fired from over 20 launch platforms and can be effectively launched from surface vessels, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft against any current submarine navigating at its full operating depth.

The torpedo weighs 276kg and can be integrated with a 44kg high-explosive warhead and with the AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar. The propulsion system powered by liquid propellant provides the torpedo a maximum speed of 40kt.

A244/S Mod 3 Lightweight Torpedo

The A244/S Mod 3 lightweight torpedo from EuroTorp is the latest member in the A244/S family of fire-and-forget ASW torpedoes used by more than 16 Navies. It has been designed to counter any conventional and nuclear submarines with advanced anti-torpedo countermeasures.

The torpedo weighs 254kg and incorporates sophisticated acoustic seeker, advanced counter-counter measures capability and a blast type warhead. The maximum operating depth of the A244/S Mod 3 is over 600m.

The A244/S Mod 3 is powered by a DC motor driving two counter-rotating propellers, ensuring a top speed of 36kt and a maximum range of 13.5km at low speed.

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