Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Iran's Weapons.

Iran has been making a big show of new weapons.

They have made a show of a couple of missiles, a high speed torpedo, and various other weapons systems.

The most intriguing weapons is the high speed torpedo. While any ship the torpedo is directed against will be unable to outrun the weapon other torpedo countermeasures will be effective. In any event the torpedo has its own drawbacks.

Global Security reports
"Certainly they seem to have undertaken some form of test, of some 'missilized' underwater projectile, but to go so far as to claim it is a credible, fully operational underwater missile I think is overstating [the matter] considerably," he says.

Alderwick points out that the best conventional torpedoes have a speed of about 110 kilometers an hour, and that to get them to run at three or four times that speed through rocket power is no easy matter.

"There are significant problems in maneuvering the missile, the noise it would make is obvious as well, it is not very stealthy, there are really a plethora of issues that create problems when you are trying to develop high-speed underwater torpedoes," he says.

Another "massive problem," Alderwick continues, is range. Pushing a rocket at high speed through a dense substance like water means a high consumption of fuel. Russia's Shkval has a range of nearly 7 kilometers. There is no word on the Hoot's range, but assuming it is similar to the Shkval, this means such a rocket is only useful when opposing ships are at close quarters.

Alderwick points out two other weak points. One, that the launching vessels are very vulnerable to air attack, for instance by helicopter gunships.

Second, if the missile is to be used against submarines, as Iranian officials suggest, then it needs to be supported by a full antisubmarine warfare capability; the missile by itself is only a single part of the system.
Source: Global Security - Iran: Super Weapons Claims Met With Skepticism (Breffni O'Rourke)
The film coming from Iran is pure propaganda. Their torpedo may be effective but any platform launching such a torpedo in combat is not long for the world.

My guess is such weaponry will be used (in an actual fight) against commercial shipping (mainly oil) in the area. The fear (even in the absence of a real shooting war) of that torpedo being used against tankers is bound to cause an increase in the cost of doing business which means an increase in the cost of energy.

The torpedo is not being shot at our boats but it still does damage.