Black Shark is an advanced, long-range, multi-purpose, heavy weight torpedo designed and developed by Whitehead Sistemi Subacquei (WASS) in cooperation with the Italian Navy. The wire-guided heavy weight torpedo, designed for a life of more than 20 years, can be deployed to defend any surface or underwater targets and can be launched from submarines, surface vessels or land stations.
WASS demonstrated the Black Shark torpedo during the Euronaval exhibition in Paris in October 2010. The torpedo was also exhibited during DEFEXPO, a major international exhibition of naval and land defence and security, in New Delhi, India, in March 2012.
The Black Shark torpedo was successfully test fired from the Type U212 submarine Scire in push-out mode in the La Spezia gulf in January 2014. The Scire submarine was commissioned by the Italian navy in February 2007. The torpedo is expected to replace the old A-184 heavyweight torpedo deployed with the Italian Navy’s submarines.
The Black Shark is also integrated onboard the Hellenic Navy’s Type U214 class submarines, French Navy’s SSN Barracuda class nuclear powered attack submarines, the SSK Andrasta littoral submarine, and the Scorpene class submarines of the Chilean and the Royal Malaysian navies. The torpedo was also selected for integration on the Chilean Navy’s Type U209 submarines. The Indian Navy is also expected to procure the Black Shark torpedo.
Design and features of Black Shark heavy weight torpedo
Lockheed Martin designed and developed the MK 48 Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) submarine-launched heavyweight torpedo for the US Navy.
The next-generation, fully stealth Black Shark heavy weight torpedo is designed to operate in deep and coastal waters, and can be launched in push out and swim out modes at any operational depth of a submarine.
The torpedo has a length of 6,300mm and diameter of 533.4mm, and can be integrated with any submarine using compact Torpedo Board Interface (TBI) solutions. It can detect targets at a very long range and is capable of engaging multiple targets simultaneously. It is equipped with the sophisticated Acoustic Counter-Counter-Measures (ACCM) capability.
The torpedo is fitted with STANAG 4439 and MURAT-2 insensitive munition explosive warhead, and can track the targets in both acoustic and wake modes. It can easily interface with the sensors and computing units aboard the ship. It is also compatible with all new torpedo fire control systems.
Sensors aboard Black Shark heavy weight torpedo
The Black Shark torpedo is equipped with multiple wake sensors for the detection and classification of targets. The sensor systems incorporate a fully digital beam-forming signal and data processing technique.
A state-of-the-art Advanced Sonar Transmitting and Receiving Architecture (ASTRA) active and passive acoustic head is fitted to provide multi-target homing guidance capabilities. The torpedo is firtjer fitted with a fibre optic wire guidance communication link that provides advanced communication capabilities. Black Shark can also be equipped with an audio channel.
The Black Shark heavy weight torpedo is powered by an electrical propulsion system, which is based on a silver oxide and aluminium (Al-AgO) battery. Developed by Saft, the AgO-Al batteries are provided with high energy density and high electrolyte conductivity offering maximum safety and storage life of up to 12 years. The system delivers twice the power and energy of a standard zinc / silver oxide (Ag-Zn) battery.
The propulsion system also consists of very high energy contra-rotating direct-drive brushless motor and skewed propellers that provide a very low radiated noise. The stepless speed electronic control provides very high speed to the torpedo.
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