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"Iran Tests a New Underwater Missile" Topic

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Bangorstu02 Apr 2006 3:27 p.m. PST


This has been reported on the BBC too, although it's not on their web page yet.

If this operates as reported, yikes!!!

Wonder what the range is? Could be quite nasty in enclosed waters such as the straits of Hormuz.

Grinning Norm02 Apr 2006 3:30 p.m. PST

Cool piece of kit.

360kph under water is hellishly fast though.

camelspider02 Apr 2006 3:47 p.m. PST

Whether the whole thing is a fabrication or not is of course entirely up for grabs. It wouldn't surprise me if it were, though. It's a bit of saber-rattling at a time of high tension with the West, especially the US. The North Koreans do it too, making scary claims about big bad weapons as their people starve.

Anyway, like the Russians (who make all kinds of claims about their new hardware too), even if this thing works as claimed, it's another story as to whether they can afford to actually build and deploy them. You'd think their first spending priority would be getting their military into the 21st century, and that's probably where the priority actually is ….

Gecoren02 Apr 2006 3:50 p.m. PST

While I have no doubt that Iran has developed it's own effective armaments industry, I can see this being at best a fast torpedo (if true). Accurate target acquisition is another thing entirely.


Stevenmack6502 Apr 2006 4:31 p.m. PST

"Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane."

What a whole fighter plane?

Personal logo Lentulus Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2006 4:33 p.m. PST

360kph though water? Thats quite a set of forces for the hull to deal with; and how is the darn thing supposed to be propelled?

nycjadie02 Apr 2006 4:34 p.m. PST

I'm with Larry. If they had an effective missile why would they tell the press? What do they get by telling the press?

Personal logo Lentulus Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2006 4:35 p.m. PST

"probably where the priority actually is"

It does seem like their deterent approach in the meantime is to be very scarry.

camelspider02 Apr 2006 4:49 p.m. PST

"It does seem like their deterent approach in the meantime is to be very scarry"

Scarry? You mean, like flagellants? :D

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian02 Apr 2006 5:00 p.m. PST

I have significant doubts about the physics of propelling any object through a medium as dense as water at anything like 300+ kph.

tberry740302 Apr 2006 6:13 p.m. PST

They've been showing the thing on TV all day. It's a rocket propelled torpedo. They even show it blowing something up. No details on range though.

They also claim it is undetectable by sonar. Considering the sound levels produced by the rocket it should be detectable by the sonar of a ship in drydock.

Crusoe the Painter02 Apr 2006 6:39 p.m. PST

There are rocket propelled torpedoes. Both the US and Russia have developed them. They are pretty tricky devices. The Iranians probably bought them from the Russians, or at least bought the plans



"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. "

Given the speeds are so close together, 360kph versus 386 kph, I believe they may be the same thing.

The rocket basiclly 'drills' a hole in the water via cavitation and flies in the 'tunnel'. The initial versions were dumb weapons, fired like unguided rockets. Russia says they have a guided model now. The US is working on it's own version of a rocket torpedo.

It was initially believed the russian sub that sank a few years ago did so when some of the rocket engines in the shkval's it was carrying detonated.

Crusoe the Painter02 Apr 2006 6:41 p.m. PST


More fun with advanced underwater weapons. How about a underwater cannon shooting cavitation clad bullets so you can shoot at subs, and mines… :)

cloudcaptain02 Apr 2006 6:49 p.m. PST

We've had them since the 90s. That Russian sub that they wouldn't let us help with…had similar technology on board.

Hopefully since we have had them awhile we have good counter defense for them.

Sorry if this sounds like conspiracy stuff. Its not. I would be shocked if they invented themselves from scratch. Its probably based off something they've seen, stolen, or bought.

Battlestandard Miniatures02 Apr 2006 8:12 p.m. PST

It is true and it is likely the Russians sold them the tech used for their own UWM and Iran converted that into their model.

It is a huge deal as it is difficult to impossible to defend against right now and in the confines of the Persian Gulf their having this weapon could essentially shut down the waterway at will. Oil gone, the ability to support by sea our forces in Iraq with out using Turkey and Jordan as intermediaries.

Things are getting very bad. Far worse than I think folks know. The Iranians are very smart folks and it would not surprise me if they surprised everyone with the test of a nuke right now at least a year or two before we think they can. Particularly of they are getting the Russian help the appear to be getting.

We were eating at a favorite Persian Restaurant for the Persian New Year last night and our Waitress, A Median Persian from Iran, said her family is telling her the whole country is moving toward a war footing and that the pro democracy movement that had been gaining momentum has been largely shut down. Everyone is terrified of this new leader.

Double Ace02 Apr 2006 8:18 p.m. PST

Yes, I believe it is the Russian model.

They just bought it, along with other Russian kit, e.g. SAM's and other AA artillery systems, etc.

Supposedly, the destruction of the Kursk, along with the death of the Chinese diplomats viewing the new weapon's test trials was a major event awhile back. So, I imagine they have them too.

No doubt, despite their bravado, the crews of any vessels manning such weapons will be a bit less enamored with their use, since things did not go as planned in the North Atlantic last time one was being readied for launch.

If it were me, I would prefer being on a barge, as depicted in the video, or even better, on land, prior to attempting a launching.

Apparently, they are equipped with both nuclear and non-nuclear warheads.

At such high speeds, guidance is a problem, so it is thought that newer variants slow down for the final phase, to search for the target. No guidance needed on the nuke-armed weapons, just a simple timer.

Bangorstu03 Apr 2006 2:54 a.m. PST

Can't believe sonar can't pick it up. How much good the knowledge of it being incoming will do you, at 300+ kph is a moot point.

If the range is even remotely reasonable, could it be used from shore installations to close the Straits of Hormuz? I mean, the Iranians own a lot of little islands around there, which might be useful.

GRENADIER103 Apr 2006 5:08 a.m. PST

If I remember correctly the range ont these types of weapons are much shorter than conventional torps. And the speed factor is a major problem for guidence. I think the Russian guided version actually is fired at a slow speed and then locates a target and accelerates to attack speed. Also they are difficult to detect but not impossible I think even if Iran has these look for them to be used against large slow targets such as tankers. Fired from shore based instalations. The current state of their fleet is dismal and they lack real good platforms to carry such a weapon. As always anything stationary on the ground is not going to last long against US air power.If they begin rolling these out and can retro fit their diesal boats to handle them it may be a problem but look for any US action to be carried out after the few diesal boats the Iranians operate have been located shadowed and sent to the bottom.

phililphall03 Apr 2006 6:13 a.m. PST

Believe the range is around 7000 yards. Originally designed as a last shot weapon fired along the bearing of an incoming torpedo with hopes of getting the shooter before the incoming torp impacted and therefore forcing a wire guided torp to miss. Nuclear armed. Makes me wonder just what that is going to do to the firing sub when a nuke goes off underwater at, say, 3000 yards.

DS615103 Apr 2006 7:01 a.m. PST

"I have significant doubts about the physics of propelling any object through a medium as dense as water at anything like 300+ kph."

It's called Supercavitation. Basicaly the torpedo is surrounded by a thin skin of air. It's not new, just expensive.

Ratbone03 Apr 2006 8:02 a.m. PST

Cavitation: the object travels so fast through the water, that the speed of the object basically vaporizes the water directly in front of the object. This creates two excellently helpful phenomena — first there is no longer water in front of the object, allowing it to travel fast, effectively "flying" through the pocket of air it creates, and secondly, as mentioned, the air bubbles flow back across the surface of the object, coating it in a layer of gaseous air, which greatly reduces surface drag.

As mentioned, this is no threat against the US Navy. Long before any ships are in range of this (presuming a war/invasion of Iran), the ships, sites, etc would be destroyed courtesy of US Air Force, US Navy, and US Marine warplanes.

This is about as meaningful as a man saying his knife is big and sharp to a man with a gun. Unless of course the gunman is dumb enough to walk over to see…

Bangorstu03 Apr 2006 8:22 a.m. PST


Should have a link to a BBC video snippet of the weapon being test fired. It appears the Irnaians have also developed a new conventional missile.

Double Ace03 Apr 2006 1:01 p.m. PST

Supposedly on the newer models it moves out quickly first, for a pre-determined period, and then slows for acquisition, since the super-cavity interferes with that process.

I imagine they will make entering the Persian Gulf a little more nerve-wracking for any captains out there.

The torpedo is bound to be very noisy, so will be easily detected, but will be difficult to out-maneuver with such speeds.

As mentioned, most will probably be taken out in a first-stike, but how will you really know for sure, if they can put them on barges, and other platforms. Also, diesel-electric subs are very hard to detect, even by first-rate opponents, especially in coastal waters. The Kilo's are supposed to be especially so.

KatieL03 Apr 2006 1:54 p.m. PST

Does the weaving about sort of thing actually work to outmaneouver torpedoes? I've seen it done in movies, but it always struck me as a bit "Star Wars"; I thought they homed in like A-A missiles on the sound of the engine?

Bangorstu03 Apr 2006 2:37 p.m. PST

I'm no expert, but I think the idea is to outrun them – torps have a limited range. If you wave and it misses, it has that much further to go for another pass. Hopefully it'll run out of fuel first.

Or, if it's wire-guided, you need to find a way to snap the command wire.

Double Ace03 Apr 2006 3:46 p.m. PST

Weaving/avoiding only works on straight runners.

Dangling a noisemaker, called a foxer, usually works to distract and detonate an attacking homing torpedo, since theoretically it is louder than the target. Probably less effective for attacks through a frontal arc of the target though, which is why it is important to identify the attacking torpedo, and to quickly turn away from it.

Warlok03 Apr 2006 4:41 p.m. PST

And then they're going to stick these in all eight of their diesel powered subs.

Double Ace03 Apr 2006 8:50 p.m. PST

Possibly, if they think they will work as advertised.

Interesting that they didn't launch them from a sub for their test. Probably a bit worried they may not work properly, and don't want to risk losing one.

phililphall04 Apr 2006 7:03 a.m. PST

The Staits are 21 miles at the narrowest point. They have two 1 mile wide sea lanes with two mile buffer between them. To close them with these torps they are going to have to put them on a launch platform of some kind. Unlike anit ship missiles that can be shore based.

I suspect most of these tests are being done as a warning to the U.S. not to attack Iran. They supposedly tested a second radar avoiding missile today.

I'm wondering just how many Tomcats are still available to the Iranians. We could see air combats between two U.S. products. Supposedly Tomcats scored 130-145 kills during the Iran-Iraq war and one Iranian became a triple ace.

Bangorstu04 Apr 2006 8:58 a.m. PST

To be honest, I doubt the Tomcats are servieable. Iranian aircraft are developing a habit of falling out the sky due to US sanctions.

Why they haven't bought in Russian stuff I don't know. Or maybe they have? If so, they can afford better kit than the Iraqis. And of course, they still have the Iraqi aircraft.

If it came to a war, they may not last long, but with those missiles I bet they could make a mess of the local allied oil industry…

Double Ace04 Apr 2006 12:00 p.m. PST

I'm sure they've been able to scrounge or make parts, or had the Russians/French do that for them in exchange for a plane, or two.

mandt204 Apr 2006 1:01 p.m. PST

I don't see any real advantage to this thing. I seriously doubt they could ever get close enough to an American ship to use one. I would think the Iranians would have gotten much more for their money by investing in a more practical system.

I think it's, for the most part saber rattling.

carne6804 Apr 2006 4:24 p.m. PST

I doubt that the Iranians could get close enough to a US SSN to hit it although the acoustic conditions in the Gulf are wierd to say the least. I would not be surprised to see them pop a surface ship or two. I was on a FFG-7 class ship and our sonar techs used to call their system Hellen Keller for a reason. Of course the consequences for doing so may be more than they are bargaining for.

Dusty10305 Apr 2006 7:25 a.m. PST

Bang[Can't believe sonar can't pick it up. How much good the knowledge of it being incoming will do you, at 300+ kph is a moot point.]

I'm sure passive sonar picks it up the instant it hits the water. They're not going to have to ping it. But sonar relies on the speed of sound which I think is about 700mph. The computer listening will have to adjust its position according to the delay.

But with a range of 7 clicks, it's a knife fighting weapon in water and, as high tech, extremely expensive. It would be useless against our warships with their defenses, weapons range, and zone of security. They could use it to take out tankers easily enough, but at what great expense to do what a single fighter and some bombs could do?

Saber rattling is all it is. It may impress all the Middle Eastern countries to think they may have something to attack our navy, but it's all flash and smoke. When it has a fifty to one hundred mile range, then it may become a viable threat.

Uparmored In the TMP Dawghouse08 Jan 2020 3:58 a.m. PST

Hopefully this latest round of Iranian aggression ends up being another Praying Mantis

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