Nowadays our Navy has to purchase expensive and obsolete torpedoes
Presently, state of underwater weapons constitutes one of the major problems in Russian Navy. As of the time of breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was a considerable lag of Soviet underwater weapons from their Western analogs (more perceptible than other types of Soviet arms). In the ensuing years the lag has become even larger.
First and foremost, it would be well to analyze the most serious disadvantages of torpedo and antisubmarine (ASW) weapons which are currently at Russian Navy's inventory:
short firing range (much shorter than Western analogs have)
apparent absence of effective torpedo telecontrol
imperfection of homing system (HS), using vertical wake detection as an antiship homing method
limited operating life (much less than Western underwater weapons have)
large sizes and weights
limited ASW combat load at surface ships
TOTAL FAILURE IN TELECONTROL ISSUES
The principal problem of vertical wake detection homing system (VWDHS) is close proximity of launching site to a target due to significant losses in distance (torpedo is knowingly launched "behind the target" and then follows it) and in pursuit speed (torpedo moves not in a straight line but "sinusoidally"). As a matter of fact, far back in 60's launch sites of Soviet 53-cm torpedoes were within engagement zone of Asrok ASW system in favorable hydrological conditions. Soviet sub could get Asrok's "knockout" prior to launch her torpedo.
The Americans started working on such homers as early as 40's, although then refused to apply them in torpedoes. Contrary to popular belief, there are effective techniques to oppose a wake-responsive torpedo. The US Navy is quite aware of those methods and do practice them.
Sure, ship's wake is a highly noticeable and reasonable object to be used in torpedo guidance. However, there used to be more effective options. For instance, improving of horizontal wake detection implemented in Andromeda homing system as far back as 1961, or homer of export torpedo TT-5 provided minimal losses in pursuit speed holding torpedo within wake.
Researches in remote control started in 60's at Central Research Institute for Automatics and Hydraulics (Moscow). "A wire line was adopted basing on simultaneous doubled paying out of cable from two spools located in torpedo and towed by a submarine. Such telecontrol system was applied in SET-53M type torpedo commissioned in 1969 under the index TEST-68. In 1971 torpedo TEST-71 was designed on the basis of more advanced torpedo SET-65; then – torpedo TEST-71M and helicopter-based remote-controlled torpedo VTT-1 on the basis of torpedo AT-1" ("60 years of CRI Gidropribor", St. Petersburg, 2003).
In contrast to western telecontrol systems providing both directional and depth control of several torpedoes for maximum consideration of hydrology, decreasing of torpedo's noise, and alteration of target class (for example, while submarine's "dolphin jump" surfacing), telecontrol system of our Projects 641B and 877 diesel electric subs provided only horizontal guidance of only one torpedo. Submarine-towed telecontrol spool is still used. Influence of water currents on torpedo's speed leads to spool curling and wire breakage. Application of long conducting ropes to decrease this effect excludes use of telecontrol at shallow depths and makes multiple launches impossible.
Late 60's Western designers developed umbilical telecontrol spool; after launch, it remained on breech door of torpedo tube. Cable slippage was provided by protective "hose" to compensate submarine's post-launch maneuvering. Umbilical telecontrol enabled to increase reliability of cable connection, reduce limitations in speed and maneuvers, and ensure multiple launches including those at shallow depths. Consequently, torpedo weapons became more effective, and distances between launch site and targets were significantly increased.
In 70's Soviet Union also had everything to adopt umbilical spools; however, the Navy hindered that innovation. The necessity of post-launch removing a spool and a "hose" from torpedo tube required manual operations. Navy Technical Development Plan involved automatic reload of torpedo tubes which was possible only with towed spool. So, the Navy rejected "hose" telecontrol systems; moreover, it was widely believed that "we don't need it", since our subs and torpedoes were less silent and so forth. USET-80, basic torpedo of 3rd generation nuclear submarines had never obtained homing system prescribed in Technical Development Plan.
By the way, in real conditions even brief telecontrol considerably increases effectiveness of torpedo launch against submarine; moreover, successful launch against surface ships performing anti-torpedo zigzag maneuvers at a distance over 11-13 km is possible only with telecontrol. The main thing is that up to mid-80's telecontrol remained the only effective interference resistance method in conditions of high sonar countermeasure. Till early 80's there were no homing systems with required interference resistance worldwide. So to provide effective fire, the US Navy has been using telecontrol as indispensable condition since 50's; their surface ships are equipped with broad range of ASW means to maintain capability of multiple attacks upon submarines.
All Western heavy torpedoes and even new Chinese torpedoes use umbilical telecontrol. Towed spool applied in our torpedoes is a 50-year old rudiment. In fact, this places Russian subs in the crosshairs of enemy's weapons having much more effective firing range.
The situation is that, for example, none of Russian torpedoes presented at international defense show IMDS-2009 had umbilical telecontrol spool, even the most advanced UGST! Only towed spools...
ELECTRICITY INSTEAD OF HEAT
In 1964 Soviet Navy held a design tender on perspective multipurpose torpedo UST; heated and electrically driven torpedoes were compared. In spite of the fact that performance of heated torpedo was considerably better at depth down to 600 meters, electric torpedo was approved for further development allegedly because of potential commission of US nuclear subs with submergence depth of 1,000 meters. Prototype of the torpedo's battery was fished up American Mk-44 torpedo with seawater battery (hydro-chemical cell).
Within the period 1964-1980 electric torpedoes with seawater batteries SET-72 (40 knots, 8 km), UMGT-1 (41 knots, 8 km), USET-80 (over 45 knots, 18 km) were developed and commissioned.
Selection of "electric directions" for development of multipurpose torpedoes led to the following:
significant lag of Soviet torpedoes from US analogs in speed, range, and effective launch positions;
high cost of torpedo weapons;
limited operating life of batteries (not more than 15 years);
decline of performance when in service (attributable to all electric torpedoes);
non-operability in the Baltic Sea due to low water salinity;
dependence of power on conditions discrediting "official" characteristics (that was mentioned in 80's by R.A. Gusev, deputy chief of Soviet Navy Underwater Weapons Department in his book "Torpedo's C'est La Vie": "SET-72... About twenty launches of combat version were made... Conditions which provided 40 knots guaranteed by industry were not revealed. So we have a kind of shortfall in speed... Most likely, torpedo USET-80 will have the same problem").
The reasons for development of electric torpedoes in European countries (Mk-24, DM2, SUT, F-17 etc.) are higher silence (comparing to heated torpedoes), and possibility of surprise attack ("silent kill"). However, Soviet electric torpedoes had anything but high silence. Moreover, they "thundered" appreciably greater than Western heated torpedoes.
Nowadays, the most advanced foreign electric torpedoes like Black Shark or DM2A4 have comparable transport characteristics with heated torpedoes, although that was achieved by hi-tech aluminum/silver oxide batteries. Despite development of such batteries was mentioned at report of Krylov Central Research Institute far back in 2006, today's electrotechnical companies do not offer production of those batteries.
Consequences of the tender held in 1964 are still in effect. Hardly developed for a long time, torpedo UST had been finally commissioned into Soviet Navy in 1980 without all appropriate trials. When the time came, Russian Navy "inherited" this torpedo with all its problems.
High cost and limited operating life of electric torpedoes occasioned Russian Navy lots of troubles. In fact, today our Navy has to purchase expensive torpedoes which became obsolete as early as 30 years ago. For instance, state purchase contract 253/08/02 (2008) implied 15 torpedoes USET-80 for overall cost of 421,874,000 RUR.
To compare, the US Navy indented Raytheon Co., Naval & Maritime Integrated Systems for 115 equipment sets to develop new modification of torpedo Mk-48 mod.6 ADCAP. Cost of works made $14 mln; completion date was mid-2004. Torpedo Mk-48 mod.6 differed from previous mod.5 with advanced hydroacoustic homing system, guidance system, and propulsion system (source: Naval Forces, 2001).
The US Navy had not purchased new torpedoes since 1993 till 2006. Nonetheless, thank to modernization sets even the newest torpedo Mk-48 mod.7 could be produced by updating of old modifications of Mk-48.
Batch production of torpedoes Mk-48 mod.7 was launched in June 2006; no later than in August the US Navy signed a $95.4 mln delivery contract on 107 torpedoes (including those for Australian Navy under Maritime Partnership Initiative), and constituent parts to refit other modifications into mod.7 (source: Jane's Defence Weekly, 2006, v. 43, ¹ 51, p. 10).
Answering the question why USET-80 is not Mk-48, R.A. Gusev said: "Just because a rattletrap is not Mercedes". As a matter of fact, state purchase contract 253/08/02 is buying expensive as gold rattletraps in 21st century.
Torpedo Mk-48 developed under RETORC-2 program (1962-1971) was commissioned into the US Navy in 1972. Constructively simple and reliable, this torpedo was equipped with homing system perfect for its time, umbilical telecontrol system, powerful and energy-consuming powerplant with monofuel axial piston motor.
Uprise of Mk-48 and its high combat characteristics after all made the Soviet Navy command and Ministry of Shipbuilding Industry launch development of perspective multipurpose heated torpedo UGST Tapir with pretty significant performance – speed over 70 knots, range over 20 km, and depth down to 1,000 meters. Tapir's record-setting capabilities were achieved by closed-circuit steam turbine, high parameters of steam and hydroreactive fuel.
Sea trials of Tapir started in 1983. Successful half-range launch was performed late 1985. However, technologically it was impossible then to provide reliable operation of the torpedo's power control system. Considering that, peroxide variant was elaborated which significantly outranked not only USET-80 but Mk-48 in moving characteristics. Nevertheless, severe pressing from Soviet Ministry of Shipbuilding Industry standing for electric torpedoes led to shutting down of that development.
In such a manner we lost an opportunity to create inexpensive (prime cost of pilot batch was 70,000 RUR comparing to 360,000 RUR of USET-80 production batch) multipurpose torpedo with high performance and long life.
Works on Magot – "oxygen version" of UGST torpedo – were carried out by Kirov plant (Alma-Ata) prior to collapse of the USSR. However, that research was not supported by leading "torpedo" organizations of the Navy and industry, so that works had not been completed until the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Navy had in inventory heated torpedoes to be used only as antiship weapon. Their development was oriented at increasing of range and speed. In 60's the Navy pinned hopes on the "champion" – peroxide torpedo 53-65 (speed of 68.5 knots at 12 km or 44 knots at 22 km). The issue was addressed straight forward – more energy, more power... Unfortunately, during design works such matters were absolutely blundered away as maintenance and a ship-weapon interaction (example, use of other homing systems and telecontrol types to increase effective launch distances). The Navy had to refuse this kind of torpedo choosing an oxygen-type one – 53-65K.
The history of torpedo 53-65K is well unusual. It was developed on the initiative of Kirov plant's design bureau without technical development plan, research papers, and experimental designing on the basis of produced parts for serial torpedoes. Naturally, this "shopfloor" initiative was perceived negatively by the Navy and industry. Moreover, to produce pilot batch, the plant had to raise money illegally. It is of interest that virtual fiasco of torpedo 53-65 turned that "ugly duckling" into the Navy's most massively-produced antiship torpedo.
Uncomplicated, cheap (cost 21,000 RUR in mid-80's), and reliable torpedo 53-65K is still in inventory of Russian Navy and some foreign countries. Under certain conditions (short distance to target, limited target speed, sea disturbance etc.) it is very effective. Although, these "certain conditions" did not meet tactical requirements of sea battle even in 70's... The main problems are short launch range (consequence of vertical wake detection homing system), and high noisiness.
On March 4, 1958 Central Committee of Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Council of Ministers issued a decree to develop perspective 650-mm attack torpedo for the Soviet Navy. Obviously, that torpedo had the best performance worldwide and posed a major threat to the US Navy, primarily to carrier groups.
Unfortunately, the Navy realized the torpedo's unique capabilities too late. The torpedo passed state trials in 1965, but then it had been idly waiting for appropriate platform, assimilation into the Navy and so forth... In 1973 the torpedo's nuclear version was designated as 65-73. In 1974 the Navy obtained the first platform for the torpedo which was Project 671RT nuclear submarine; conventional modification of 65-76 with vertical wake detection homing system was commissioned in 1976. Adaptation of the torpedo for 3rd generation nuclear subs was started in 1982 (as a reserve for perspective 650-mm torpedo DST). In 1991 torpedo 65-76A was commissioned into the Navy and faced batch production.
After tragedy of SSGN Kursk this torpedo was labeled as a "killer". There were many publications saying the enlightened West had relinquished an idea of such torpedoes as early as 50's. That is not so, however. Up to mid-70's American nuclear submarines were equipped with peroxide torpedo Mk-16 (then was "retired" with replacement of submarine weapons with unified torpedo Mk-48). Peroxide torpedoes (Tp617, Tp613, and Tp62) are still in inventory of Sweden and some other countries. While being properly maintained and operated, they have proven their safety.
With shutting down project UGST Tapir, the development of mono-fueled axial-piston type torpedo UGST Fizik was started. So, in 1986 we chose the American way taking Mk-48 as a model.
That was preceded by 650-mm mono-fueled heat homing torpedo DST developed in 80's, and copying of US small-size torpedo Mk-46 early 70's. Formally, "our Mk-46" – torpedo MPT-1 Colibri – was ready in 1973, although "reproduction" of American homing system was drawn out to a great length; development of homing system Keramika was finished only in 1982. The torpedo met no enthusiasm of the Navy and industry. First, because it did not meet the Navy's requirements in wide range of parameters; second, "plagiary deserves no awards". Besides, in 80's Soviet engineering capability could not provide "original" characteristics even for copied obsolete Western torpedo. Colibri was well behind Mk-46... Finally, it found its place in the system of Soviet underwater weapons as a part of poorly engineered MTPK mine-torpedo ASW system.
It seems like the optimal option would be to use this torpedo as a warhead of small-size ASW rocket system mounted on surface ships. It would be solution for the problem of insufficient combat load and effective launch distances of shipborne ASW torpedoes. However, the project of ASW rocket system Medvedka was shut down (in many ways, due to a number of conceptual errors even at the level of design specifications).
An obvious mistake made by the USSR as early as 50's was monopolization of torpedo homing systems development by organizations inexperienced in hydroacoustics. Given that at initial stages all hardware was copied from German samples, the problem was underrated...
MISTAKES WERE TOO OBVIOUS
Meanwhile, it was just the middle of 20th century when the epoch of "primitive" homing systems in Western countries was over. New requirements for underwater weapons provoked seeking for fresh ideas. Competition among the best Soviet creators of hydroacoustic hardware was applauded; such agencies were involved as Central Scientific and Research Institute Morfizpribor, Institute of Radiotechnics and Electronics, Institute of Acoustics of Soviet Academy of Sciences... Alas, in our country development of homing systems was finally concentrated within Research Institute Gidropribor with minimal use of experience and know-hows of other agencies. Numerous screwups were made while arrangement of project monitoring by the Navy (28th Research Institute). Experts of Navy Research Center for Radioelectronic Weapons would unlikely overlooked developers' mistakes made in 70's and 80's, since they were too obvious...
In 50-60's Soviet Navy adopted passive homing systems (torpedoes SET-53, MGT-1, SAET-60M) which in many ways were copies of first German target-seeking torpedo Zaunkönig (1943). Tellingly, one of these homing systems (torpedo SAET-60M) was in our Navy's inventory right up to early 90's. What a unique example of longevity, not usual for a sophisticated military electronic system and proving our "well-being" in development of torpedo homing systems.
In 1961 the first Soviet active/passive homing system for torpedo SET-40 was commissioned into the Navy; in 60's such systems were implemented in 530-mm ASW torpedoes (AT-2, SET-65). Homing system Sapfir unified for all torpedoes was created in 70's on the basis of previous developments. These systems were quite efficient and provided reliable targeting in uncomplicated conditions, although had awfully low interference immunity and were well behind American analogs.
Homing system of Mk-48mod.1 capable to detect a submarine at over 2 km in favorable hydrological conditions was a prototype for perspective 3rd generation torpedo UST. The task "to catch up and surpass America" was accomplished late 70's by creation of powerful low-frequency homing system Vodopad developed for aircraft-launched torpedo UMGT-1 and built in torpedo USET-80 (as more powerful variant). In conditions of deep-water ranges of the Black Sea the new homing system performed required nonmaneuvering target response radius. However, trials in real conditions turned out to be a total failure.
L. Bozin, head of department for torpedo operations, 28th Research Institute recalled: "Admiral Tomko, 3rd generation submarine force commander felt a delicacy about dispatching subs to patrols... Knowing that torpedoes could not home onto targets, at test firings he intentionally placed a sub and a target in such a manner that one could not miss. Anyway, the torpedo did not run home..." Another quote: "How about Naval Institute? Its scientists made no substantial contribution to development of homing systems in 70-80's. Of course, they did some researches, reports, conclusions. That was something at least. But they watched just what they were shown. And developers could show only results in the Black Sea".
Similar situation is described in memoirs of an expert of Research Institute Gidropribor who was involved in the development: "It was 1986. Northern Fleet had been launching torpedoes USET-80 for 5 years, although results of those firings against submarine targets were discouraging. Perhaps, that was the problem of poor qualification of personnel or poor homing of torpedo in shallow waters of northern ranges.
After numerous bathysphere test launches upon actual targets it was found out that in northern conditions homing system of torpedo USET-80 did not provide reaction interval required by technical development plan.
The Navy redeemed its reputation and Research Institute Gidropribor needed two years more to furnish torpedo USET-80 with a homing system adapted to northern conditions".
Again: "...the progress of designers completing actual tests of torpedo Kolibri (item 294, caliber 324 mm, 1973) with homing system reproduced on national element base... This homing system named Keramika is a champion long-liver. One could hardly find a torpedo which has another ASW homer installed during modernization".
"USET-80K, caliber 534 mm, 1989...new biplanar active/passive acoustic homing system Keramika".
Thus and so, throughout all 80's the Navy had great problem with combat effectiveness of USET-80 (because of homing system). Note, homers of previous generations were okay. This problem was solved only in 1989 by adaptation of "reproduced on national element base" homing system taken from American torpedo…developed in 60's! Moreover, still running-on batch production of this homer is designers' source of pride even in 21st century...
As the phrase goes, comment is needless!
It is also characteristic that homing systems developed by NPO Region for aircraft-launched ASW rockets APR-1, APR-2 even in 60's were far and away better and smarter than those of the principal developer. Homing of modern torpedo UGST is also work of NPO Region. This scientific production association developed anti-torpedo system Paket, and we will turn our attention to it later.
SPEED AND RANGE
Against the background of mentioned problems, our infallible success was development of ASW rockets for nuclear-powered submarines.
It is believed that if the enlightened West has no such weapons in the inventory, we don't need it too. However, ASW rocket is a fast-speed weapon capable to destroy enemy's submarines in the shortest time and at larger distances than torpedoes. When the opponent fires first, use of ASW rockets enables to recapture the initiative and to win. By the way, warhead delivery speed plays important role. Implementation of this requirement most brilliantly realized in 650-mm ASW rocket 86r was the merit of Novator Design Bureau. It's a popular misconception that operational range of this ASW rocket (somewhat 100 km) was unreasonable. Range is a consequence of high speed providing substantial increase in efficiency at lower-than-maximum distances in comparison with 530-mm ASW rocket 83r.
Unfortunately, both ASW rockets 83r and 86r had certain disadvantages which are result of mistakes in technical development plan.
Good example is surface ship version of ASW rocket system Vodopad (83rn). Submarine launch places numerous additional requirements on a rocket (that means weight, money etc.) which are absolutely needless as for surface ships. Combat load of our ASW ships significantly yielded to Western analogs; moreover, this trend was gradually worsened with every new project. For instance, Project 11540 frigate with absolutely insufficient combat load of six 530-mm rocket torpedo launchers.
What were the reasons of such sorry state? First was detachment of our military science from the Navy. It is pertinent to remember a well-publicized rocket torpedo Shkval. Indeed, the stock-produced item got speed of 200 km, although an array of restrictions made this weapon almost useless in combat. Foreign intelligence was oriented not at Shkval itself but huge amount of developmental tests of underwater rockets held in our country. Just because the concept of high-speed torpedoes developed in the US and Germany was different in principle – conventional, homing, high-speed and short-range, used in aviation as a payload of ASW rocket systems (i.e. almost what we had at aircraft-launched ASW rockets).
That detachment led to a numerous developments suitable only for "paper wars". Often quite ironic to the next scientific news, the Navy is simply squashed by routine, beginning from year-to-year increasing volume of paper work and ending with daily combat training plans, endless "presentations to inspectors" and "corrective action reports".
Another reason was insufficient qualification of personnel (primarily, single-functioned officers). Normally, an ordnance officer (antisubmariner) was poor in acoustics and submarine detection systems, since training programs were primarily oriented at mechanics.
In many cases the reasons lied in very low quality of tactical models designed for scientific maintenance of developed ships and underwater weapons.
One more reason was absence of central powerful-and-capable authority responsible for perspective development of the Navy. All did it a little – Maritime Scientific committee, Naval Academy, 1st Research Institute, 24th Research Institute, central departments... On the whole, formally only Navy Command is responsible for development, although it bears a tremendous burden of current affairs.
This situation has been shaped not today. Former Northern Fleet Commander Admiral A.P. Mikhailovsky in his book "Leading the Fleet" amazingly described the problem, i.e. said nothing. Mikhailovsky repeatedly says that he was given a task to master ships of the 3rd generation, but not even once mentions severe problems which the fleet faced (example, USET-80 torpedo).
HOW ARE "THEY" GETTING ON?
Perhaps, we need to analyze experience of other sea powers, first of all the US. For example, it would be great to thoroughly study division of the Navy's organizational structure into administrative and operative branches, but this issue is beyond the scope of the article.
53-cm torpedo tubes at our surface ships are nothing else but rudiment of the World War II. As far back as 50 years ago the whole world switched to tubes for small-size torpedoes which have launch distances comparable to 53-cm torpedoes (without telecontrol).
One commanding officer of a US destroyer well said about modern surface ships' torpedo tubes: "Woe be to that sub appearing within the radius of their [torpedoes] efficient use".
In the US Navy small-size torpedoes are the weapon of aviation and had become ships' "spare gun" long ago. Main ASW weapon of American ships is Asrok VLA missile system with engagement zone of 1.5-28 km (and will potentially increase).
Russian Navy's arsenals have significant amount of mine torpedoes MPTK; although physically, considering reducing number of ships they could not be planted. Such mines include torpedo MPT ("our Mk-46"). Just like its American prototype, this torpedo has huge capabilities and could serve many years while properly maintained and modernized. Having "played enough" in 90's with costly toy – small-size "super capable" torpedo Mk-50 – in 21st century the Americans pragmatically turned back to the project of 60's – Mk-46 equipped with new homing system and so renamed into Mk-54.
Similar decision would be much more reasonable for us. The fact that now our surface ships have caliber of 324 mm (with modernized torpedo MPT) gives a chance to anti-torpedo system Paket (also 324 mm) which today has to become the core element of a ship's torpedo defenses.
TODAY AND TOMORROW
Since early 90's foreign navies has been adopting new types of torpedoes (with new homing systems) and detection systems (including those with active illumination and network-centric multistation systems); that led to more aggravation in the area of Russian underwater weapons even at conceptual level discrediting traditional submarines and their arms.
One should recognize that the nature of changes in underwater warfare happened in the recent 20 years has not been completely comprehended not only in Russia but abroad, too. Adequate concept of arms development is possible only after thorough study into capabilities of new network-centric systems tested in real conditions. As of today, the question could be only about determination of development trends of underwater weapons and top-priority measures to solve the most severe problems in this area.
The following could be named as fundamental changes in underwater warfare:
substantial increase of assured submarine detection range of new tracing facilities;
advanced interference immunity of new sonar systems, making quite difficult to suppress them even by new electronic warfare means.
We could draw a conclusion what modern torpedo homing system is, say, from report made at UDT-2001 conference (9 years ago!)
Through 3 years the experts of BAE Systems and Defence Research Agency (the UK) had been conducting these studies applied to Spearfish torpedo. Main trends of their work were:
processing of wideband signal (in active and passive modes);
use of more complicated signal envelope shape;
conceal mode of active location;
adaptive beam shaping;
target classification with neural networks;
improvement of tracing process.
It was experimentally found that use of wide band (about octave) increases effectiveness of desired signal extraction from noise background because of extended processing time. In active mode it enables to compress signal duration; that reduces effects of surface and bottom reverberations.
To detect targets by transmitting of low-power signal, the complicated signal envelope shape is used implying random filling and wide band. In this case a torpedo's radiation is not detected by a target.
It should be strongly emphasized that all abovementioned things are not a sort of perspective developments but real fact applied even in serially produced torpedoes. That is confirmed by press service of US Navy's Submarine Force Command stated on Dec 14, 2006 that the first Mk-48 mod.7 had been delivered to the Navy and loaded into SSN-752 Pasadena on Dec 7, 2006 in Pearl Harbor.
Effective countermeasure to such torpedo primarily implicates anti-torpedoes. In the contemporary context ASW rockets assume great importance, especially as we are leaders in this area. Capability to attack surface targets from a distance of 25-35 km by telecontrolled multi-torpedo launches becomes extremely important for heavy torpedoes.
Perhaps, having all specified problems in mind it would be reasonable to import torpedoes just like in 19th century or in 30's? Alas, we could not do that any more, since the main elements of a present-day torpedo are homing systems, guidance, and software. And leading designers cover up those issues even to the extent of special on-board software destruction programs making impossible for an enemy to reconstruct it even by virtue of available wrecked parts.
British defense ministry looks into a question of possible purchase American heavy torpedo Mk-48 ADCAP as a ready alternative for modernization of wire-guided heavy torpedo Spearfish. That decision became of a great importance when the industry bureau stated in Dec 2005 that the UK would import torpedoes, providing that it would keep control over their tactical software and homing systems (Jane's Navy International, 2006, p. 111, No. 5, p. 5).
So, doubts are cast upon the fact that even the UK (which is the nearest American ally) has full access to the software...
We could and should buy some components for our underwater weapons, but guidance and homing systems must be Russian-developed. Such work also has a pretty good perspective for export. We have every scientific capability to develop advanced homing systems.
Nowadays, underwater weapon is one of the major attack and defense assets of conventional sea forces and plays key role in combat stability of nuclear sea forces. In conditions of considerable superiority at a theater of operation and air dominance of potential enemies, present-day mine warfare (with use of long-range mobile mines and ultrawideband mines) could be a significant deterrent; however, that's a separate topic.
To reiterate, despite severe problems with development and production of modern underwater weapons, today we have sufficient scientific and production potential to develop and produce underwater arms adequate to the highest standards.
1. Implementation of stages and modularity in research and development works. Result of even intermediate stage of development should be suitable for practical use.
2. Analysis of all production capabilities of our engineering industry to achieve maximal performance and minimal prime cost of underwater weapons.
3. Wide use of civilian technologies.
4. Considering important issues of military technical cooperation in the context of export and import to the benefit of Russian Navy's underwater arms. Proper addressing of cooperation issues works for defense of state secrets.
5. Participation of developers in utilization process of underwater arms to use experience of previously produced underwater weapons to produce perspective ones, just like the U.S. does.
6. Correction of regulatory documents on defense hardware development considering new approaches and dictates of the time to reduce terms and costs of research and development works.
7. Waiving 53-cm torpedo tubes mounted in surface ships; adaptation of 324-mm caliber with upgraded torpedo MPT and anti-torpedo Paket.
8. Large-scale equipping of submarines with anti-torpedo system Paket; version for Project 877 subs should be offered for export.
9. Adaptation of umbilical telecontrol for submarine-based torpedo tubes; refit of heavy torpedoes with umbilical spool; assimilation of umbilical guidance into the Navy.
10. Considering limited resources and reasonable combat load, submarines should be armed with two types of heavy torpedoes – current UGST and modernized USET-80 (with another battery, another homing system, and use of umbilical telecontrol).
11. In present conditions, ASW rockets become the principal anti-submarine weapon both of surface ships and submarines.
12. Start development of very small-size underwater weapons (with caliber less than 324-mm). Development of homing system provides high efficiency even for small-size warhead of midget torpedo, and significantly reduces its cost.