Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Iranian "Super-Fast" Torpedo

Forgive me if I'm a little skeptical of this report from CNN that seems like it's basically parroting a press release that would come from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard:

"A senior commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed on Sunday that the Islamic Republic had developed the world’s “fastest underwater missile” which could destroy both battleships and submarines.

“The fastest underwater missile in today’s world was successfully tested in the military exercises codenamed Great Prophet”, deputy commander of the IRGC Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi told state television, referring to week-long naval war games in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman which began on Friday by Iran’s armed forces.

“The speed of this missile called ‘Hout’ is 100 metres per second and no ship can escape it”, Fadavi said, adding that the maximum speed of conventional underwater missiles was 25 metres per second. State television aired clips of the missile as it was being fired and moving in the water.

“Currently, only two countries in the world are equipped with such a missile”, he said.

“Ships that can fire the Hout missile are radar-proof and cannot be identified”, he added.

"The missiles are also designed to evade sonar detection, Fadavi claimed."

Us submariners know that such claims are either spurious (radar evading -- not hard for a submarine firing an underwater weapon) or ridiculous (a supercavitating torpedo that can "evade sonar detection"?). Vigilis has more background on the Russian Shkval supercavitiating torpedo on which this alleged weapon is supposed to be based, but even if they did make something like this, the things are basically unguidable, and are really only useful for firing down the bearing of an incoming torpedo in hopes of getting your opponent to move, or, if it's armed with a nuclear warhead, as a "revenge" weapon.

Staying at PD...

Update 0550 03 Apr: Actually, based on this photo (Intel source: The Sub Report) it looks like maybe the damn thing might really be an "underwater missile", which is even less useful militarily that a supercavitating torpedo (being that it's completely unguided). Even if it's not rocket-powered the whole way, if it still requires rocket launch, it means it's a surface- or shore-based weapon only, which means it'll work once before we blow up the launchers...

This whole thing is now even more obviously just a lot of stupid crap for domestic consumption by the Iranian government and Revolutionary Guard. My guess is that the professional Iranian military is shaking its collective head in embarassment right now.

Update 1735 03 April: Looks like they tested another "new" torpedo today. While the State Department is trying to milk the news for all it's worth, I agree with the thoughts of the Pentagon spokesman who said that "the Iranians have also been known to boast and exaggerate their statements about greater technical and tactical capabilities."

Update 1949 03 Apr: The video of the "test" is a hoot -- looks like 1960s U.S. Navy propaganda films. (Article with link to video is here, via SubSim.) As I guessed, the thing is completely unguided, so it'll just keep going in the same (approximate) direction it was fired. As a commenter mentions, it might be effective against a supertanker, but not against a warship. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard could possibly sink a cargo ship with it as one of their last acts, I guess...


Anonymous Byron Audler said...

That's gotta be one hell of a torpedo to sink a battleship:)

4/02/2006 5:14 PM

Blogger G-Man said...

My gut feeling is that Iran is all talk and nothing to worry about. Bush probably laughed at this news.

The submarine USS Jefferson City is based in San Diego,CA ( a test for our young wet under the ears "homeland security censors".)

4/03/2006 5:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just how much guidance is necessary when you're swimming out at 200-plus knots with a supertanker occupying the firing envelope and literally dead ahead?

4/03/2006 5:53 PM

Blogger half said...

If it's surfaced based (and it's gotta be) it looks like a substitute for an anti-ship missile. Maybe the water-rocket is cheaper.

4/04/2006 5:02 AM

Blogger Dantravels said...

As soon as I heard about this torpedo I knew there was only one place to get the real dirt: Bubbleheads.

4/04/2006 5:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only a fool can overlook the potential danger of Iranian's response to any kind of military attack. Who knows strait of Hormouz and Persian Golf can imagine the potential danger of a weapon of that kind. Nothing can pass through and you must consider a bicycle for your daily transport.

4/04/2006 10:06 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

The "super-fast" torpedo might work against a slow-moving tanker in a sneak attack, but that's it. It's too big to be fired from a submarine, so once Iran fires first, and the civilian traffic stops, the weapon's useless. The Straits are very narrow; I remember being at PD there, and being able to see the coast of Oman on one side, and Iran on the other. One sub can control the Straits against civilian traffic, but three old export Kilos won't last very long. The Iranians can do some damage for the first week -- after that, they're back to shooting rifles from the shore. Just my opinion...

4/04/2006 9:52 PM

Anonymous Common sense said...

It is a load of nonsense. The smaller the rival is, the more noise it makes, this can even be seen in the wild.

4/07/2006 6:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another interesting take on the 'new' Iranian shkval:

4/13/2006 7:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not a torpedo you morons; torpedo only moves on the surface, but this is an underwater missile that goes deep into water. Also those who say this is a copy of russian Torpedo fail to realise that it is not a bloody torpedo.

4/15/2006 12:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nah torpedos also can be lanched under water.

4/15/2006 12:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A torpedo has got an engine but the one Iran showed on their TV had fire coming out of its tail so it must be a missile.

4/15/2006 12:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

easy kiddos

anyone whos been thru the strait knows that "eyeran" can have the world by its balls.

shval, attack theory, INS, whatever, ...

he that controls the straits, controls the world.

4/28/2006 12:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Germans ( have developed a steerable supercavition missile - and have shared the technology with the US. The missile exceeds the speed of sound underwater and therefore does escape sonar detection (until it is too late). The Russian Shkval (which appears to be the source of the Iranian claims) is a similar weapon.

8/31/2006 7:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best way to stop a bully is to hit him with all you have got before he has time to react. This technique works in school yard fist fights and protecting narrow ocean straits. Case in point...the USA almost lost one war ship already from a bomb laden speed boat coming along side it's victim...then exploding disabling the ship and killing over a dozen sleeping US sailors in the process.
Murphy's law tells me that if a mistake can be made, given time it will be made. If Iran, Russia, China or others have underwater rocket powered subsonic torpedos, we should consider them lethal. If one were fired as a first strike strategy under ideal conditions at it's target, say an American carrier, the result could be decisive. The US could lose one or more carriers and five or six thousand lives on each carrier hit before they even know what happened to them. Remember Pearl Harbor. Ambush or suprise works in the school yard and on the high seas.

4/08/2007 4:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its main use appears to be as a propaganda tool for state media and state bobbleheads who still have a need to convince us that Iran is a super nuclear space power bent on dominating the galaxy. In other words, it will make us waste more money to keep up with the joneses, just like that clown reagan did when he pretended mothballed soviet fleets were proving of an emerging soviet naval strategy. Right before the soviet union fell. Knowing that the soviet navy's real state would soon be public knowledge, reagan pushed his 'theft of the public trust' bills as quickly as he could through congress.

I think we'll see this sort of theft happen again, now that we have an even less educated public.

7/10/2008 2:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

for my 2 cents...

I think Iran has figured out how
to track-find our stealth bomber.
Remember folks: it flies just under
the speed of sound..sonic boom
would give it away. I think the stealth also flies significantly lower to the ground than any body
has admitted...Think about it..whole plane is computer controlled to fly in the first place so fling low (ie.10 feet
off tree top) would be easy for
it, hard for pilots...But if the
Iranians know where it is...well
shit, any 1950's vintage jet fighter could easily catch it...not to you think the Stealth could even stand a few
.50 cal rounds..?? not to mention
20 mm cannons like the Germans
had on their ME-262 (I bet that
could catch the stealth if it knew
where it was)_....but Irans claims
of sub tech I think are pretty foolish...NOBODY in the world can
find our subs....they are damn quite.

7/10/2008 5:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha ya right. how would a country like iran develop such an apparently great weapon. If its really like a supercaviting torpedo then theres no way it can be immune to sonar...

8/16/2008 12:13 PM


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