Monday, April 03, 2006

Iranian "Super-Fast" Torpedo

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

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...


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