Iran tests underwater missile


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Old Partner
April 2, 2006, 12:14 PM
Might not be gun related but at the least is asinine. right up there with "There are no american troops in Baghdad".


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran announced its second major new missile test within days, saying Sunday it has successfully fired a high-speed underwater missile capable of destroying huge warships and submarines.

The tests came during war games that Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have been holding in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea since Friday at a time of increased tensions with the United States over Tehran's nuclear program.

The Iranian-made underwater missile has a speed of 223 miles per hour, said Gen. Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards' Navy.

That would make it about three or four times faster than a torpedo and as fast as the world's fastest known underwater missile, the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval, developed in 1995. It was not immediately known if the Iranian missile, which has not yet been named, was based on the Shkval.

"It has a very powerful warhead designed to hit big submarines. Even if enemy warship sensors identify the missile, no warship can escape from this missile because of its high speed," Fadavi told state-run television.

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K-Romulus
April 2, 2006, 12:21 PM
223 miles per hour

That's underwater? :confused:

What is the propulsion for this thing? Wouldn't the drag of the water cause it to disintegrate, or veer off course unless guided, or make it hard to change direction?

beerslurpy
April 2, 2006, 12:24 PM
It is based off of some sort of sheath of bubbles thing that cuts down drag. It basically flies through the water like a regular missle flies through the air, just slower.

And yeah, it is pretty obvious the russkies are selling their technology to anyone with cash.

Manedwolf
April 2, 2006, 12:27 PM
No, unfortunately it's real. :uhoh: It just means they bought a couple of Russian Shkval torpedoes and copied them. REALLY bad news for us, if so. Not only do we not have them, but we have no defense against them. If they have them, if we get into a scuffle, we're going to lose some ships, maybe some of the SEAL-carrying refitted former missile subs we undoubtedly have in the area.

Russia sold China about 40, I don't doubt Iran bought some too.

-----------------------------------------

The Shkval("squall") is a high-speed supercavitating rocket-propelled torpedo designed to be a rapid-reaction defense against U.S. submarines undetected by sonar. It can also be used as a countermeasure to an incoming torpedo, forcing the hostile projectile to abruptly change course and possibly break its guidance wires.

The solid-rocket propelled torpedo achieves a high velocity of 230 mph (386 kmh) by producing an envelope of supercavitating bubbles from its nose and skin, which coat the entire weapon surface in a thin layer of gas. This causes the metal skin of the weapon to avoid contact with the water, significantly reducing drag and friction.

The Shkval is fired from the standard 533-mm torpedo tube at a depth of up to 328 ft (100 m). The rocket-powered torpedo exits the tube at 50 knots (93 kmh) and then ignites the rocket motor, propelling the weapon to speeds four to five times faster than other conventional torpedoes. The weapon reportedly has an 80 percent kill probability at a range of 7,655 yd (7,000 m).

The torpedo is guided by an autopilot rather than by a homing head as on most torpedoes. The initial version was unguided. However, the Russians have indicated there is a homing version that starts at the higher speed but slows and enters a search mode.

http://www.periscope.ucg.com/mdb-smpl/images/w0004768.jpg

Biker
April 2, 2006, 12:29 PM
This combined with the Sunburn missile spells real trouble for our Navy.
Biker

rbernie
April 2, 2006, 12:37 PM
Looks like the land-based launchers would be pretty easy to spot, no?

Third_Rail
April 2, 2006, 12:47 PM
I've always loved that kind of underwater projectile... too bad it'll probably be used against us, yes?

Maxwell
April 2, 2006, 12:57 PM
Iran's navy isint much of a challenge, and if they shoot form long distance then a depth charge should be able to deal with it. The shkval dosnt turn too well anyway.
Its just a threat to sound good, the weapon wont do them much good.

As far as nukes goes, that seriously ups the anti in this game.
Unless they are 100% suicidal then I dont see them using these kinds of weapons in combat.
Its more to goad the US into a fight figuring that with enough fronts on a middle east war they can either a) split our forces in the hope we lose both iraq and iran, or b) continue to flip off the world community and get nukes anyway, securing themselves from direct attack in any future war.

To use the RKBA argument, nukes wont do em much good in the longrun. Everyone has em so whoever they attack will probly shoot back twice as many.

geekWithA.45
April 2, 2006, 12:59 PM
Actually, this is more gun related than you'd think. One of the defenses proposed against the supercavitating torpedo is a below the water line cannon firing a supercavitating round. :)

Manedwolf
April 2, 2006, 01:26 PM
Iran's navy isint much of a challenge, and if they shoot form long distance then a depth charge should be able to deal with it. The shkval dosnt turn too well anyway.

Underestimating an enemy is the surest path to defeat.

Since these can come from STANDARD tubes, patrol boats or old freighters and tankers, even fishing trawlers with hidden below-the-waterline tubes could be, to US ships, the equivalent of a sniper hidden in jungle foliage. It hits you before you can react.

Don't think conventional naval warfare, or old-style battleships slugging it out. It isn't that anymore.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 2, 2006, 01:31 PM
The problem with a really fast torpedo using supercavitation to attain its speed is that it cannot guide itself (sonar doesn't work through bubbles and noise) and it cannot be guided externally (really wide turn radius, how do you send it commands underwater without a wire?). There are several other limitations on the weapon as well, particularly the fact that using one pretty well gives away your position.

Manedwolf
April 2, 2006, 01:38 PM
There are several other limitations on the weapon as well, particularly the fact that using one pretty well gives away your position.

Thus making it a much more ideal weapon for suicidal jihadis in a trawler than just ramming a boat with a raft, no? Each converted boat gets one torpedo.

A single, simple torpedo tube mounted on....anything could take a fast shot at and possibly cause catastrophic damage to a passing US frigate or smaller guided missile cruiser. Multiple boats, most certainly.

How do you effectively patrol an area when any of the ships NEEDED for world oil trade and commerce could be concealing something that could kill your vessel?

I also wonder at it being used at SEAL subs trying to come in. A Shkval hitting a submerged nuclear sub would be very bad.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 2, 2006, 02:02 PM
Well, the article states a range of 7k yards. That is a pretty big limitation right there. You aren't going to enter the protective bubble around a carrier with that kind of range on any kind of surface ship. You might get that close to a picket ship; but then you have another issue...

Modern torpedos are effective because they explode under the keel creating forces that snap the keel and sink the ship. I'm not a torpedo expert; but I can see some problems making the Shkval do the same thing since it is blind and unguided.

Maxwell
April 2, 2006, 02:04 PM
Thus making it a much more ideal weapon for suicidal jihadis in a trawler than just ramming a boat with a raft, no?

They could just use standard rockets, I dont think these are intended for suicide boat attacks.

A Shkval hitting a submerged nuclear sub would be very bad.

You could depth charge a sub with stadard weapons if you knew it was there, so far they have not shown that kind of ability.

This torpedo concept was originaly concieved by the russians to ferry a nuke into blast range of a carrier. I would think that if iran gets nukes, they could deny carrier groups access to the gulf pretty easily with this.
Carriers would be our primary response to a pre-emptive strike on iraq, and would also be present before an invasion of iran. Their also big political targets.

What they are not counting on is M.A.D. or the ramifications of sinking a ship. It prettymuch demands we respond in kind, and the UN wouldnt be able to stop the allieds from charging in after that kind of provocations.

G36-UK
April 2, 2006, 02:57 PM
Didn't they say they had a missile that avoids radar and other detection?

Can someone explain how ICBMs are conventionally detected? Just thinking of something.

Biker
April 2, 2006, 03:54 PM
Google the Sunburn Missile. An impressive weapon it is and Iran likely has it.

Biker

Burt Blade
April 2, 2006, 04:16 PM
Folks,

Since this is decades old Soviet tech, do you suppose that we have developed something to counter it?

Also, if Iran uses one of these in a sneak attack, what will they use to keep our aircraft from reducing their oil infrastructure to smoldering rubble?

Iraq and Iran tried to close the gulf to each other's shipping in the eighties. It was called "the tanker war". Various other nations got involved.

Iran may be betting that this "new" weapon and the possibility of nuke-tipped missiles may make them too much of a porcupine for the USA, or anyone else, to get involved this time. Bad bet, I think. If we focused our efforts on military and control targets alone, the Iranian regime is going to be hard pressed to feel in control of their own people, let alone the Gulf.

Then again, if we wind up electing another "Jimmy" of a President, the Iranians might feel a bit more adventuresome.

tom barthel
April 2, 2006, 04:29 PM
Rumer is the russian sub in the news last year was testing one of these. The story was there was a malfunction that caused the loss of the sub. The russians denied it. Americans are the most inovative people. If push comes to shove, America will counter it. There are devices in our inventory we may never hear about. There are things only discussed on a NEED TO KNOW basis. Those with high clearences who don't need to know may at best suspect. The dificult can be done immediately, The impossible may take a little longer. If they start something, they will lose. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Manedwolf
April 2, 2006, 04:30 PM
Since this is decades old Soviet tech, do you suppose that we have developed something to counter it?

Nope.

The Navy lost or discontinued funding to develop their own sometime back in the 80s, and as for countermeasures, I think an unhealthy bit of superiority hubris has resulted in decades of heads-in-sand about it.

"We have no equivalent, its velocity would make evasive action exceedingly difficult, and it is likely that we have no defense against it," stated Jack Spencer, a defense analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

As in famous last words, "Aw, they couldn't hit the broadside of a barn..."

I hope corrective action to develop countermeasures doesn't have to come only AFTER a speech at the dedication to the memorial for a lost warship's crew. :(

Manedwolf
April 2, 2006, 04:36 PM
There are devices in our inventory we may never hear about. There are things only discussed on a NEED TO KNOW basis. Those with high clearences who don't need to know may at best suspect. The dificult can be done immediately, The impossible may take a little longer.

Actually, it's more like that there's a tremendous bureaucracy and resistance to field new ideas, while at the same time trying to hang onto horribly flawed ones. (Like the V-22 Osprey). And people being people, and defense constractors wanting to increase investor interest, we DO hear about most things "in the inventory". If this weren't the case, we'd not have been losing so many troops and vehicles to IEDs in Iraq. They'd have a magic solution, some unbeatable anti-IED ray powered by unobtanium crystals. They didn't. It's a war, stuff gets fielded slowly, bureaucrats drag their feet, and other stuff that shouldn't be on a battlefield yet gets sent out before it's ready (early M-16).

With all due respect, the real world defense situation is not a Tom Clancy novel.

benEzra
April 2, 2006, 04:38 PM
an someone explain how ICBMs are conventionally detected? Just thinking of something.
Mostly infrared. We have early warning satellites with IR sensors that detect the booster's launch plume (that exhaust trail is HOT), also high-powered radars (the DEW line) that detect anything coming our way once it gets on our side of the world. Even after booster shutoff and RV separation, the warheads are warm enough to be detected by IR means against the VERY cold background of space (the background blackbody temperature for a space-based sensor is around -269 degrees Celsius, so a recently launched warhead at a few degrees above freezing is very hot compared to background).

RV's shine like little suns during reentry (like a really bright meteor, visible even in strong daylight), due to the very steep reentry angles and high speeds (Mach 20-ish for a typical intercontinental shot, as I recall). The warheads are ablatively shielded, and the surface gets white hot and then some, plus a trail.

Malone LaVeigh
April 2, 2006, 04:54 PM
I'm with those who can't imagine the Iranian Navy being able to get anything close enough to a battle group to use this thing.

OTOH, I understand the Iranian Navy makes a lot of use of Boston whalers, and those are mighty fine boats.

Seriously, though, the trouble with Iran, like the trouble with Iraq, will come after we declare victory. I just hope our political leaders aren't stupid enough to step into it a second time.

cslinger
April 2, 2006, 04:58 PM
I'm with those who can't imagine the Iranian Navy being able to get anything close enough to a battle group to use this thing.

Me thinks that Iran probably has it's share of old Soviet Diesal/Electric boats which may be louder then a drunk neighbor when running diesal but when running electric are quiet as a church mouse.

Chris

30Cal
April 3, 2006, 02:20 AM
7000yds is up close and personal for the Navy. It doesn't sound like an offensive weapon at all. As I see it, it would be fired back down the bearing of an incoming torpedo, in which case, yes, in a sub, you'd be in for an interesting afternoon (but then again, the ship that fired it is already SOL as well). To shoot it at a sub, you'd pretty much need to know it was there (which is a pretty far stretch in peacetime).

There's probably not an effective countermeasure anywhere in the near future, but I think this one could easily be overcome by tactics (aircraft, surface ships, etc). Again, you aren't going to get a ship within 7000yds of a battlegroup in a shooting war. A sub could probably drive around the platform carrying it or even under it without being detected. The ability to destroy a sub is totally dependent on the ability to first detect, then localize it.

Being that submarines don't communicate all that well with anything, they generally don't know exactly where their own subs are and would probably be very weary of firing it unless they picked up an incoming torpedo. I don't know how well a surface ship can do that.

It might also be the kind of weapon that would bite at a 21" countermeasure--a second torpedo fired a little bit after the first one. Or one modified to project submarine accoustic signatures (which we use all the time in exercises).

Interesting, but certainly not the end of the world.

Ty

Oleg Volk
April 3, 2006, 02:50 AM
Modern torpedos are effective because they explode under the keel creating forces that snap the keel and sink the ship. I'm not a torpedo expert; but I can see some problems making the Shkval do the same thing since it is blind and unguided.

Maybe the same way olf naval mines worked, by detecting the magnetic signature of a ship?

dfaugh
April 3, 2006, 09:24 AM
I'm with those who can't imagine the Iranian Navy being able to get anything close enough to a battle group to use this thing.

Me, too. Even if we don't have anything that can stop it once its fired, we have really,really,really good detections systems. They gotta get within about 4 miles to use it, which with our detection systems is very close. Not that they couldn;t do it, just very unlikely.

Manedwolf
April 3, 2006, 09:43 AM
Even if we don't have anything that can stop it once its fired, we have really,really,really good detections systems. They gotta get within about 4 miles to use it, which with our detection systems is very close. Not that they couldn;t do it, just very unlikely.

http://www.handguncontrolinc.org/uss_cole.jpg

You mean like with the USS Cole?

To me, assuming that they can't use the thing is tantamount to assuming that the crackhead wandering around down the street waving a questionable cheap revolver can't actually shoot and kill you with it. Would you take that chance?

I do, however, think we have other problems to worry about. All the ships in the Gulf could be hit with a literal swarm of hundreds of Exocets (remember the Stark?), punctuated by unstoppable Sunburns and their even faster successor, with the only way out being the Straits of Hormuz. The Shkval just adds another dangerous uncertainty.

Dannyboy
April 3, 2006, 09:45 AM
You mean like with the USS Cole?
Yeah, like that's the same thing.:rolleyes:

HankB
April 3, 2006, 10:04 AM
Well, if one of our ships (or, for that matter, one of ANYONE's ships) is ever hit by one of these things, we'll know for sure where it came from. No question of plausible deniability . . . then it will be "lights out" for Tehran.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 3, 2006, 10:19 AM
Maybe the same way olf naval mines worked, by detecting the magnetic signature of a ship?

Since the torpedo is travelling at 200+ mph it is going to have very little time to make course corrections or change depth once it detects the magnetic field - and the speed also means that these course corrections won't be dramatic.

The problem I see is that the torpedo has to run at a preset depth so it arrives under the keel but close enough to set off the magnetic imploder. It isn't going to take much to cause it to miss that depth. If it explodes too shallow, it does damage like an early WWII torpedo and modern damage control can handle that. If it explodes too deep, it does even less damage.

My guess is that Shkval was originally designed to carry a nuclear warhead and was developed with that use in mind. The current technology has a high cool factor; but pretty limited applications for naval warfare. About the only other use I can think of for it is to fire it down the line of bearing of an oncoming torpedo in hopes of killing the sub that kills you or forcing it to break the guidance wire; but that is more a defensive use.

dfaugh
April 3, 2006, 11:20 AM
You mean like with the USS Cole?

Obviously not the same situation...I'm assuming a battle group at sea, using all available resources. I'm pretty sure that with what's going on in the Middle East, all our systems are at "high alert". But, you are correct in that it might not prevent a surprise attack, under very limited circumstances...However, they gotta realize that, at that point, their entire country is gonna become a parking lot.

Biker
April 3, 2006, 11:24 AM
Not a lot of room to manouver those big ol' ships in the Strait of Hormuza, is there?
They could also simply sink a couple of tankers which could really clog things up for our navy and other oil tankers. Lots of crude passes through that little Strait.
Biker

seeker_two
April 3, 2006, 12:19 PM
All you would need is a transmitter mounted in a cargo container, small boat, or even in a suitcase to give those missles something to home in on, and you're looking at a lot of expensive wreckage. Not something beyond current Iranian technology, I think...

Well, if one of our ships (or, for that matter, one of ANYONE's ships) is ever hit by one of these things, we'll know for sure where it came from. No question of plausible deniability . . . then it will be "lights out" for Tehran.

Actually, the radioactive glow would provide a good light source... :evil:

Biker
April 3, 2006, 12:21 PM
I wonder how our troops in Iraq and the folks in Israel would feel about all of that radioactive fallout?
Biker:)

bowfin
April 3, 2006, 12:28 PM
/*Unless they are 100% suicidal then I dont see them using these kinds of weapons in combat. */

Well, the president of Iran is an adherent to the following, this information coming from this link:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/01/14/wiran14.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/01/14/ixworld.html

"Iran's dominant "Twelver" sect believes this will be Mohammed ibn Hasan, regarded as the 12th Imam, or righteous descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.

He is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the ninth century, at the age of five. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.

This is similar to the Christian vision of the Apocalypse. Indeed, the Hidden Imam is expected to return in the company of Jesus.

Mr Ahmadinejad appears to believe that these events are close at hand and that ordinary mortals can influence the divine timetable."

HankB
April 3, 2006, 12:32 PM
I wonder how our troops in Iraq and the folks in Israel would feel about all of that radioactive fallout?Aren't prevailing winds from west to east?

Regardless, now that they've bragged about having these underwater missles, the use of these weapons anywhere by anyone will bring a response which the mullahs in Tehran will find . . . unpleasant. (For example, it wouldn't take either nukes or "boots on the ground" to reduce most of Iran's power plants and water pumping stations to rubble. And keep them that way.)

Bartholomew Roberts
April 3, 2006, 02:13 PM
All you would need is a transmitter mounted in a cargo container, small boat, or even in a suitcase to give those missles something to home in on, and you're looking at a lot of expensive wreckage.

Radio waves don't propagate very well under water, and they don't propagate very well through a supercavitating air bubble either. Sonar doesn't propagate through bubbles either. So what type of transmitter do you propose to use? How do you propose to get it on a U.S. Naval vessel? How do you propose the U.S. Navy doesn't notice an alien electronic signal transmitting from one of their own ships?

Geno
April 3, 2006, 02:29 PM
We have bigger guns. See, I view defense this way. One may lose the opening battle, but so long a GWB is in office, we will not lose the war!

Doc2005

Crosshair
April 3, 2006, 02:49 PM
Most people seem to be assuming that they are going to use these against our ships. This would probably be used on tankers. From what I understand, we used Kiowa warrior helicopters to protect tankers against Iranian gunboats. These torpedos could be used in hit and run attacks.

Gunboat rushes into range of tanker. Line up the torpedo with the tanker and fires and hauls arse out of the area before the other side can fire back.

Also, in narrow waterway and busy sealanes, it is sometimes very difficult to detect small craft and then you have to figure out if it is a hostile craft.

ArmedBear
April 3, 2006, 02:55 PM
The problem for Iran is this:

Since there's little or no good defense against an "underwater missile" used against a tanker -- a pretty easy target to hit -- then the threat of extreme retaliation is the only way to "defend" against it.

They may see this as a strong bargaining chip, but it probably puts them in a worse position. The likelihood of Iran being attacked (before or after they use it) just went way up. Only someone like another President Carter would change the equation.

LoadAmmo
April 3, 2006, 03:02 PM
Me say no invadey Irany.

Oh wait, they're anti-Israel! Nuke em!

ElTacoGrande
April 3, 2006, 03:27 PM
My guess is that Shkval was originally designed to carry a nuclear warhead and was developed with that use in mind.

That was also my thought on this.

RevDisk
April 3, 2006, 03:42 PM
Back in the day, if you said the RPG could be used as a reasonably cost-effective anticraft weapon, you'd be laughed at. After the Somalis figured out the idea of welding an angled tube on the back of the RPG, no one is laughing very much these days. (Tis how our Blackhawks were shot down.) RPG's produce backblast, aiming one up high enough would fry your legs. Until the Somalis used a couple cents of steel tubing to redirect the backblast. Volley fired, they can and do shoot down some of our helo's. The insurgents in Iraq seem to have picked up on this trick also, with varying degrees of success.

At first glance, these underwater missiles don't seem very practical. However, never discount human ingenuity. I have few doubts that the Iranians could figure out a way of making them very effective under certain circumstances. I could come up with a bunch of ways of using them, and I have zero Naval experience. Why not put some at the bottom of the ocean/Gulf/whatever, aiming straight up? Hide them in sunken wreckage, and a mine sweeper is unlikely to pick anything up. Volley firing is another tried and true method.

Another possibility is that they do not intend to be fielded whatever. Announce very publically they're making 'supersecret' modifications to these missiles for coast defense (or whatever). We can't ignore it, because it's more than likely to be true. And it potentionally makes a pre-emptive invasion look even less inviting to our brass. Never underestimate the psychological aspect of weapons, or even war in general.


First strike usage of nuclear weapons in a non-nuclear war is not US policy, and probably never will be. From the Korean War on to present day, more than a few folks have said "If we just nuked 'em, the war would be over by Christmas." It's never happened, and likely never will. Possible, sure. But about as likely as me single handedly winning the next Superbowl. Every time we occupy a foreign country, it turns into an infantry war. Fancy toys like super neato fighters, super high tech missiles, super nifty ships, etc are very nice toys. Yes, they can be helpful, very helpful at times. But they cannot win a war. Unfortunately, that will likely always be reserved for boots on the ground.

ElTacoGrande
April 3, 2006, 05:18 PM
Anyway, does anyone seriously think the US could "win" a war vs. Iran, for some definition of "win"? We are sort of deadlocked in Iraq, and the war is lacking popular support at home, and it's straining our military past its capacity. And Iran would be a much more difficult fight.

If we need a military solution to the Iran problem, we've already lost.

captain obvious
April 3, 2006, 07:44 PM
Don't the Iranians have a couple of Kilo class subs? I don't recall too much of an emphasis on ASW by the Navy of late, either.

Shkvals look like nothing but bad news.

HankB
April 3, 2006, 08:09 PM
Anyway, does anyone seriously think the US could "win" a war vs. Iran, for some definition of "win"?I do. My definition of "win" would be along the lines of what Rome did to Carthage at the end of the Third Punic War. Or what Sherman did during his march to the sea during the American Civil War. Or by doing what was done to Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo during WWII.

We COULD pretty much do that - at least to every major and most minor cities - without using nukes.

Whether today's crop of politicians would do that, regardless of Tehran's preceeding actions, is another matter entirely.

ArmedBear
April 3, 2006, 08:12 PM
We could win a war with Iran in under 24 hours, if our sole focus were on winning the war. So yes we could.

The other complexities of the situation may indeed demand brains as well as brawn, of course.

Gewehr98
April 3, 2006, 08:25 PM
A Shkval hitting a submerged nuclear sub would be very bad.

A Shkval lighting off the rocket motor prematurely in the torpedo room of a submerged nuclear sub is also very bad. Maybe the Iranians duplicated the design perfectly? ;)

SkunkApe
April 3, 2006, 08:26 PM
Oh, but wait! Do they also have drones that could attack the United States with chemical and biological weapons? Goodness gracious, I hope not.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,79450,00.html

Don't you guys ever get tired of this stuff?

Lupinus
April 3, 2006, 08:30 PM
I'm not worried. Yes, if it hits it will be devistating to a ship. However, actually getting a hit is the hard part. One, it is inacurate. Two, you have to get so darn close that you are gonna die well before you are in range.

It isn't worthless, but it isn't the weapon that will make Iran king of the gulf either.

Make a ring around our capital ships, anyone that crosses gets fair warning to turn back, and if they don't within a few hundred yards they get blown out of the water before we are in range. The Russians have had the same basic thing for awhile and the only reason this is scaring the public is because it is being hyped up.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 3, 2006, 10:09 PM
If the Iranians want to use high-dollar Shkval technology to plunk holes in tankers, I guess they could. I don't know why they would though since you don't really need a 220mph torpedo to hit a tanker and unless this torpedo explodes under the keel, it will just punch a hole in a floodable compartment that the tanker can easily seal off and compensate.

They might just as well go back to doing drivebys on tankers with gunboats and RPGs since it is just as effective and a lot cheaper. Of course, they didn't do too well with this practice during the late 1980s since it tended to bring USN helos out to visit.

I'm sure there are some areas where a Shkval would be an effective strategy. I just think those areas are limited. The mere fact that the Iranians publicized this so widely suggests they view it more as an effective scare tactic than a core weapon system.

Mizzle187
April 4, 2006, 10:51 AM
I thought that we came up with a system to recognize these and deter them. With the system the ships were outfitted with before we would only have 30 seconds to recognize and deter. I could of swore I read we came up with a new system and the ships were being updated. Maybe it was the sunburn though.

Steve 48
April 4, 2006, 02:19 PM
There blowing smoke up your a... They are saber rattling, trying to get us off track. Its a smoke screen. Steve 48

c_yeager
April 4, 2006, 02:24 PM
I'm not worried. Yes, if it hits it will be devistating to a ship. However, actually getting a hit is the hard part. One, it is inacurate. Two, you have to get so darn close that you are gonna die well before you are in range.

It isn't worthless, but it isn't the weapon that will make Iran king of the gulf either.


Didnt Iran buy a couple of old Russian Deisel/electric subs? When running on electric motors those things are about the quietest subs out there (more so than our nukes) and very difficult to detect. The catch is severely limited range, but in the Gulf that isnt going to matter much. This is the perfect platform for a weapon like this.


On the other hand, I happen to think that Iran is making the whole thing up. They chose to declare that they successfully tested a weapon system that is impossible to verify. They might was well have said that they have tested an invisible ICBM; "its standing right over there, you can't see it, but I assure it is there in all of its infidel-terrifying menace".

Modern torpedos are effective because they explode under the keel creating forces that snap the keel and sink the ship. I'm not a torpedo expert; but I can see some problems making the Shkval do the same thing since it is blind and unguided.

Unguided torpedos destroyed ships in this same manner for a *long* time before we ever managed to figure out how to guide them. If you add up the numbers a *lot* more tonnage has been sent to the bottom by unguided torpedos than those with any kind of guidance. Ask the Germans.

Igloodude
April 4, 2006, 02:37 PM
The Persian Gulf is an ASW nightmare. Sunburn ASMs, Kilos with even regular homing torps, and mines could close the Strait of Hormuz tighter than... something really really tight. Until we open it again, which I can't imagine us being able to do without troops defending the shores on the Iranian side. :(

Bartholomew Roberts
April 4, 2006, 03:28 PM
We already opened the Straits of Hormuz against Iranian attempts to close it in the 1980s. Things haven't changed so much since then that the balance has changed dramatically

Didnt Iran buy a couple of old Russian Deisel/electric subs? When running on electric motors those things are about the quietest subs out there (more so than our nukes) and very difficult to detect. The catch is severely limited range, but in the Gulf that isnt going to matter much. This is the perfect platform for a weapon like this.

I believe Janes states the Iranians have around three relatively new Kilo-class subs from the Russians (1990s builds). Capable subs within their limits; but do they have capable sailors in them? Even if they do in a naval warfare environment, that is about three Shkval launches before they run out of platforms unless they get lucky and manage to creep past the resulting ASW swarm that has a good fix on their launch position.

If you add up the numbers a *lot* more tonnage has been sent to the bottom by unguided torpedos than those with any kind of guidance. Ask the Germans.

True; but the Germans weren't shooting at modern supertankers, which are much more resistant to sinking. Also, while old torpedos can sink smaller ships, it does take more of them and the modern naval warfare environment is not hospitable to weapons systems that require you plunk 4-5 torpedos in a ship before you can begin evasion.

The Iranians certainly could use the system this way. I just don't see why they would. It places all their high-value naval weapons out attacking fairly low value targets.

goosegunner
April 5, 2006, 01:39 AM
True; but the Germans weren't shooting at modern supertankers, which are much more resistant to sinking

You don't have to sink them, it will be sufficient to demage/destroy rudder and/or propellers. (look at what happened to Bishmark). And a VLCC or ULCC will break apart under its own weight if you manage to flood the right (or wrong) ballast tanks if it is unloaded or emty the wrong cargo tanks if fully loaded. If you start a few fires as well the salvage/demage controll will be even less fun. But why would they use expensive super torpedoes for this when 60 year old technology will do the same?

What would work would be a permanent and strong minefield in the strait, either manually detonated bottom mines or "good old" contact-, magnetic- or accoustic- mines or a combination. Not impossible to get around but it will take time and some ships to manage. Spesially if they use this new toy to make things interresting for surface vessels.

Everybody know the Iranians can't win, but they try to look like the prize will be to high.

GEM
April 5, 2006, 11:46 AM
I keep remembering that the Norwegians using obsolete cannons and some shore based torpedos inflicted significant damage on German ships during the invasion of Norway. A cruiser was lost, IIRC.

Michigander
April 27, 2006, 12:15 PM
Will they hijack cruise ships with box cutters?

Cellar Dweller
April 27, 2006, 06:01 PM
"Scapa Flow is impregnable to submarines."
14Oct1914: BBRoyal Oak torpedoed and sunk at anchor; first hit did not raise any alarms, fatal hits 2-4 came 15 min. later

"There's something wrong with our bloody ships today, Chatfield."
May 1916: Three British BCs explode after "lucky" hits; BC Lion (flagship) takes the same hit but is saved by quick damage control. 2 Armored Cruisers meet the same fate - which had previously happened to another cruiser at Coronel (November 1914). BC Hood lost the same way while pursuing the Bismarck, even though she was uparmored.

"Aircraft will be shot down, they can't damage capital ships."
Prince of Wales and Repulse, December 1941.

"Radar is the great equalizer."
Guadalcanal campaign, especially Savo Island. Battle of Tassafaronga: 8 Japanese DDs defeat 5 radar-equipped heavy cruisers + 4 DDs in a night battle.

"Aircraft can't drop torpedoes in shallow water."
Taranto, November 1940; Pearl Harbor, December, 1941.

"Aircraft (from carriers) can spot enemies before they can get in range."
CV Ark Royal and Courageous, CV Wasp, CV Taiho, Shokaku, CVE Avenger; CV Saratoga several times damaged and out-of-commission; all by subs. CV Glorious sunk by BC Scharnhorst.

"Harbors are still impregnable."
BBs Queen Elizabeth and Valiant damaged by limpet mines 1941 (Alexandria), Tirpitz damaged 1943 (Norway).

Norway invasion
German CLs Bremse and Konigsberg damaged by coastal batteries, Konigsberg later sunk by aircraft. CA Blucher sunk by shore-based artillery and torpedoes.

"Battleships can't be used in confined waters."
BB Warspite + 9 DDs sink 8 German DDs and one sub in fjords.

The Channel Dash/Operation Cerberus
Even with ULTRA; well within land-based air range; knowing who, where and when; Scharnhorst, Gniesenau, Prinz Eugen successfully run a gauntlet of mines, torpedo boats, destroyers and the RAF.

Asian "inferiority," Caucasian "superiority," paper-kite airplanes
See Russo-Japanese war; see Philippine campaign; see CBI front; see Guadalcanal, New Guinea. The British fleet got swept from the Pacific.

Empire-building
Can't find the Imperial German, Austria-Hungary, Imperial Russian, Ottoman on a map since the end of WW1. Can't find French, Dutch, Belgian, British, Japanese "empires" since roughly the end of WWII. Nationalist China looks a bit smaller too.

So, it's not impossible for Iran to sink a CVN with a box-cutter, the US Fleet to sweep Iran without the loss of a single man, or anything in between.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 27, 2006, 10:26 PM
Shkval has existed since the 1980s. It isn't new or some revolutionary technology. If it offers some edge beyond being able to shoot a nuke into a battle group, then even its original designers have been slow to appreciate that use.

lbmii
April 28, 2006, 06:16 PM
It really is all about Location! Location! Location!

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=39104&stc=1&d=1146262223


The insurance costs for oil tankers that pass through that area of the world are going up and up.

Iran is playing a game of Chess. Looking for a checkmate.

carebear
April 29, 2006, 03:33 PM
http://www.military.com/soldiertech/0,14632,Soldiertech_060420_shkval,,00.html


In my recent “Conventional Global Strike” I promised to address soon other ways in which U.S. Navy submarine armament systems are dramatically broadening in reach and lethality. But observing the errors of fact and occasional tone nearing hysteria in some media lately, I feel compelled to first address an “enemy” weapon and put it in its proper place. This weapon has been called in print “hellacious.” It's been described as a “quantum leap” in the nature of naval warfare from this day forth -- a disruptive technology for which America is woefully unprepared. It's even been said that there's no physically possible friendly defense against it, and the target won't even realize the weapon is coming until it impacts and the target's crew are dead. Paints a scary picture, doesn't it? Yet none of these statements are true.

More properly, I should say “the Soviet Union's design,” because -– despite certain misconceptions to the contrary -- the first Shkvals entered service at the height of the Cold War, after a decade in development, back in 1977. That's almost thirty years ago. Since America's Submarine Force and other intelligence assets in those days kept very close tabs on Moscow's naval weapon tests and exercises, Washington's defense establishment has been well aware of supercavitating torpedoes for a entire human generation. That the U.S. Navy chose not to develop and field such weapons years ago says something, not about a lack of ability as some writeups have insinuated, but about a lack of desire. I'll return to this later in the discussion. (The Navy and DARPA do slowly continue R&D into possible supercavitating projectiles and vehicles for specialized purposes, but these remain paper concepts or in the early test-apparatus stage.)



Perhaps one good proof of this is that active duty submariners I've met on subs or talked to at conferences aren't exhibiting any panic over Shkvals. The way they describe it, the latest mod of the Improved Advanced Capability (ADCAP) Mark 48 sub-launched heavyweight torpedo remains by far their weapon of choice. They scoff at the threat that a Shkval would pose -- assuming it isn't armed with a nuclear warhead. (In that nightmarish scenario, the Shkval with its limited range would amount to a suicide weapon. And Mark 48s are nuclear-capable, if necessary, too.) In contrast to the Shkval, the latest Mark 48 is reported to have a maximum range of some 30 nautical miles. During a game of cat-and-mouse, this means the American sub can threaten anything inside an area 36 times as big as what's covered by a 5-mile-range Shkval. That gives a very significant, classic tactical advantage: By holding open the range using the nuclear submarine's maximum speed advantage over the diesel's (say, 30+ knots sustained compared to 20ish in short bursts), the American vessel can “bombard” its opponent from outside the diesel's ability to hit back with Shkvals. Furthermore, the maximum speed of a Mark 48 is reported in open sources as some 60 knots, and I suspect that the actual (classified) figure for the latest (ninth?) mod might be several knots higher than that. The American weapon is three times as fast as the enemy diesel -- and is also much faster than any known nuclear sub. (One news source claimed that the U.S. Navy had failed to invest in good torpedos for years now, and that our best fish were so slow that enemy subs and ships could simply outrun them. I have never read a more incorrect statement in my entire 10-year career as a non-fiction submarine commentator.)

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