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Gavin Gordon

I’ve kept returning to the ‘anti-torpedo torpedo’ as a logical point defence concept.

I’m aware that Stingray and other LWT can evidently be confused by the radiated noise from your fleet units, etc., if directly launched from a surface vessel trying to locate a quiet / closing submarine or anti-ship torpedo. But as a last resort counter free to use active sonar against incoming threats, the concept always seemed sound enough to eventually form a useful addition to surface ships’ inventory.

It is strange that TLS is not part of UK T26 & our other replacement vessels. By the time they’re in service, something along the lines of BAE FLT could well be maturing.


I imagine its probably down to cost, ie its not really a cost effective solution.
The problem is a Heavyweight torpedo has some 3-4 times range over a lightweight one, and you also need a firing solution to stand any chance of actually getting said weapon anywhere near a submarine.


Hi Deep, There is an interesting new Russian Torpedo called Poseidon or Status 6, being developed which might just have a fair bit longer range, not to mention destructive power. it was dismissed as a hoax a few years back but looks like a goer now.


Cheers matey, wasn’t aware, so will have a dig around.👍


That’s not a very sporting torpedo at all! Not very nice people are they!!😂😂


Rather Dastardly if you ask me mate………… Imagine one of them in the Solent or Clyde.


its more likely to cause some environmental hazard when it goes wrong…. a nuclear propelled nuclear armed torpedo drone with supposedly infinite range…. i mean it is a literal doomsday weapon! its almost supervillain weapon kind of lunacy… stuff like this makes me laugh at the whole “we must save the planet” thing going on…. just goes to show world leaders and geopolitics really couldn’t give a f*ck…. now ww3 can irradiate massive portions of the oceans too! yaaaaay…/sarcasm

plus its not really comparable to the stuff in the article as its effectively a strategic weapon….

Last edited 6 months ago by fearlesstunafish
Gavin Gordon

For shipboard launch, was thinking more about taking out the inbound torpedo, Deep. I do note though that, after the first sentence, I failed to highlight torpedo again, mentioning only ‘threats’ midway through post. I’m sure I’ll keep on cherishing the notion, at least on websites.
Regarding other concepts mentioned, being a great fan of guns as cost-effective launch plarforms for increasingly smart munitions, I’d support any new ideas on their use.
Not so bought on land-based support. As indicated, I like things a lot closer.


Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer!!!! I expect that would keep you on your toes! I much prefer to keep them at range, preferably several miles given the choice.
Back in the day, the USSR had RBU 1000/6000 mounted on ASW Corvettes and frigates. They could throw out some 12 asw bombs per launcher in less then a minute to 1 or 6 km. If memory serves had a 20kg warhead, bit like our ww2 hedgehog system, enough of a bang to scare the pants off you I imagine. Sort of going full circle with Kingfisher, just not sure how effective a 3kg warhead would be!!! Still a interesting idea perhaps.


I imagine its probably down to cost, ie its not really a cost effective solution”

Already exists
At six and three-quarters inches in diameter and approximately 85 inches long, the CVLWT is significantly smaller than the latest variants of the Navy’s Mk 48 heavyweight torpedocomment image


I’m assuming that’s a Yank ship! We don’t appear to be going down this route at the moment, reason why, no idea, but just could be cost! Just a guess mind.


One thing to bear in mind about that particular system is that they ended up removing it because it wasn’t doing its job!
I agree with you, it’s a good concept, but it’s got a way to go before it’s fit for active duty.


They are being added to US carriers in turn during their deep overhauls.
Its already in service and they are adding an offensive version to the defensive one in service image


With respect, that’s not what your article says. It says that a previous version of the system (the one I was aware of) had been fitted to carriers, but was cancelled. You can read more about that here:
The rest of the article you posted talks about the potential uses of the new design weapon, primarily on submarines (defensive and offensive versions) and aircraft (presumably only offensive). This new type is still in development, as the USN hasn’t even released an RFP for it yet.
So, at present, the USN does not have a reliable anti-torpedo system fitted to its carriers, according to the information the you and I both have. I didn’t realise that they didn’t remove them from all the carriers though, so thanks for that.


The only place in the story that says ‘rip out’ is the headline.
the body of the story says
At present, three of the Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers – USS George H.W. BushUSS Harry S. Truman, and USS Nimitz – have prototype engineering and development models of the ATTDS installed. Bush was the first to receive the ATTDS in 2013. Two more Nimitz class carriers, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Theodore Roosevelt, initially had earlier interim roll-on/roll-off versions of the system, but the Navy eventually added full prototypes to those ships.”

I understand its to yet ‘perfect’ and the wording of the test reports paints a dire picture , but that applies to everything new in the last 15 years or so.
For obvious reasons getting high reliability for a system of this type may be a double edged sword, especially when a certain country has massive resources in ‘borrowing new tech’


Fair point, I think they were probably going off the DOT&E 2018 annual report that says: “In September 2018, the Navy suspended its effort to develop the SSTD system. The Navy plans to restore all carriers to their normal configurations during maintenance availabilities between FY19 and FY23. DOT&E removed the SSTD system from DOT&E oversight.” The systems may well still be on the carriers, but they’re no longer pursuing the programme.
I fully agree with you though, fundamentally we need a system like this. I think they’ve cancelled this one because it’s too far away from even being suitable for operational testing on active ships, but that only means they’ll be developing it on test vessels instead.
Link to the full DOT&E report:


I think this is part of their ATTDS system, which they have removed from their Nimitz class as they encountered too many difficulties with it!!!

Gavin Gordon

Yes, I thought the same with this US one. But, you know me, Keep on Keeping on.
Early on, we invested in anti-air missiles, which were sort of ‘not’, until 2nd/3rd generation.
Still, good to see BAE appear keen to examine the future potential of last resort LWT.


Everything they have developed in the last 15 years has problems big and small. You would never had carrier aviation at all if they waited till it was ‘just right’. USS Ford might be a decade before its ‘nearly right’
It has a small footprint so there really isnt anything to get rid off, just ongoing testing and development required.
I looked up the USN 2020 budget, $100 mill for lightweight torpedo development, $40 mill more than previous year.

Simon m

Some really good stuff thanks for writing the article.
Could the FLWT be fitted to CAMM? Or use CAMM technology in cannister? Also there are now pneumatic launchers in use could it be launched by these as a last ditch defence?

Supportive Bloke

It is an interesting idea using CAMM in that way for the FLWT. But it uses up silo slots.

It does, however, give the ability to put a couple on board each T31/T32/T45 so it gives the air of mystery mix to the opposition of “they might well have a couple on board let’s not go there.”

Nothing worse than being in a sub with munitions chasing from multiple vectors.

I **suspect** that the the gun on the T32 will end up being the same so that it can use the common ASW ordinance.


Using the CAMM booster is a good question, no idea if the diameters would match up but worth checking.
For my money, I’d start at the quad-packing of more normal VLS tubes- either Sylver or Mk41. You’ll get more bang for your buck that way and most fleet escorts will be able to carry them. If you’re using the form factor of CAMM (or ER, with the bigger booster?), then your lighter ships like T31 that don’t have big-boy VLS could also single load them into their CAMM farm.


It’s strange that the RN seems to be sticking with the mushroom launchers for CAAM instead of going for additional MK 41 considering the added versatility they provide. There must have been significant cost savings.


Yes, I know what you mean. I think it has something to do with needing to penetrate the deck for a more traditional VLS like Mk41- I don’t think the mushroom farms need that. They may also be cold launch, whereas Mk41 is hot launch (I think), so there’s some added simplicity and cost reduciton there. Basically cost saving and easier to retrofit to older vessels like T23. Less of an argument for new-builds like the T31 though, although I think some cannister-launched ASMs would be sufficient to round out their armament, they probably don’t need proper VLS. T32 should definitely get some though!
For my money, I’d go with Sylver- aside from maybe TLAM there aren’t any Mk41-integrated weapons systems that we’re using or may use. But we’re developing a number of weapons with France/MBDA, so sharing integration costs onto Sylver makes more sense to me.

Meirion X

The mushroom shape launchers on T23’s, are old Sea Wolf tubes, that have been extended.

CAMM installed on T26 are in a silo with a cover.

The CAMM installed on Type 31 needn’t be mushroom shape either.
T31 has enough depth to accommodate Sea Ceptor in silos.

Last edited 6 months ago by Meirion X
Meirion X

Sea Ceptor diameter is 166mm.

Mark Merrick

Really interesting. Kingfisher particularly fired my imagination


The Kingfisher is very small, sleek and deadly, launching itself into the water and striking it’s prey with deadly precision. Seems like a great name for a great concept.


Lots of really interesting options to beef up ASW in ways other than getting more T26 or Merlin.

Sea Guardian to supplement Poseidon around The UK seems like a complete no brainer.

Kingfisher is something i wasn’t previously aware of and sounds like a great idea!

I used to think that ASROC would be a logical choice to equip T26 but i’m now having second thoughts. A combination of small UAV’s feeding data back for then either Merlin with a torpedo or the main gun with depth charges/decoys to engage would add up to a much more flexible capability.

Where possible we need to try and get away from bespoke, single use systems – hence why it may be better to look at these other ways of adding relatively low cost additions to existing kit – leaving 24 VLS that can be filled with dual mode Perseus rather than procuring dedicated anti sub and anti ship missiles that then sit in their cells likely to never be used.


The Russian Poseidon around the UK might not be so good though.


Designed to attack underwater infrastructure in my opinion like fibre optic cables. If it ever works.


I think the idea is to attack the Coasts and ports using a Nuclear powered Nuclear war head Torpedo to create giant Tsunami’s and to contaminate those areas with Radioactivity. It’s certainly a nasty little weapon…. 20 metres long and talk of 100 knots. There was some scepticism at the time, when a picture was shown in a Russian meeting. I Recently read that it was actually being developed.


And this is why T26 should have been built to operate 4 Merlin size cabs.

I still think there is room for a amphibious UAV.

Give it another 10 years and the PLAN will be operating from the Kola.


Not much point in the extra hangar space if you aren’t also planning to buy enough Merlins to fill it. By amphibious UAV, do you mean an unmanned seaplane?

Last edited 6 months ago by Jon

Easy to build more helicopters or UAV than build a whole ship.

Yes I mean a seaplane.


Blimey X, you dont want much do you!!! Only another £120ish mill per T26, you will have the MOD bean counters falling off their very expensive chairs!🤣🤣


I knows…… 🙂


Ship launcher for a drone which carries a lightweight torpedo out some distance to vicinity of submarine…. what a fantastic idea. But wait …..comment image


Yes. Imagine it with a boat like hull so it could be landed and recovered.


I will now start suffering nightmares again! I hated that system.


Well it was a first generation attempt that was put into service and only 1 ships install was designed around it. All the others were a ‘ how do we fit it in’.
1970s hydraulic-mechanical systems must have diabolical for the magazine and loading to the launcher.


It did seem to have a supplementary roll to give the weapons engineers something to do. In that roll it was replaced by the Mk 8 Mod 0……..another diabolical hydraulic-mechanical system…..


Why the Navy is not using gun-launched sonobuoys is a mystery – there was a successful trial of a prototype by what was then the Guns Dept. of DERA (DSTL/QinetiQ now) in the 1990’s. It would have given them the chance to launch a string of sonobuoys 10’s of km long in a matter of minutes.

Bloke down the pub

The 4″ Shark round, developed at the end of WWII, shows that there’s very little new under the sun.

Bloke down the pub

During high end hostilities, there will be many conflicting demands for ASW resources, and large numbers, or mass in the current phraseology, will take on added importance. To this end, the RCN have developed along with Geospectrum, a towed array sonar that fits into a 20′ container so that it can be installed on their opvs or stuft such as offshore supply vessels. An oil rig supply vessel, fitted with this and carrying a drone that can spread sonobuoys and drop torpedos would provide a very useful boost to the fleet.
TRAPS – Towed Reelable Active/Passive Sonar – GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc
A lightweight version is also available that can fit on usvs.

Glass Half Full

Thales Captas 1 also supports ISO mission modules. Captas 2 used to show it as an option but its not in the latest sales sheets.

SEA also addressing smaller manned vessels and USVs with KraitSense and KraitSearch with KraitArray. Demo’ed with 2-day install onto a host OPV back in 2019 as an example. Looks to be so small its not worth putting in an ISO.


Surely if you’re firing a 5″ gun barrage then you might as well use active sonar as well given that any enemy submarine would surely hear the gun firing?


Far from convinced about the Kingfisher.

Depth charges get their effect from the size of explosive charge. A 5″ round weighs only a fraction that of a Mk11DC. The 5″ round weight is also primarily the shell casing with an small bursting charge. A Mk 11 contains a relatively high fraction of HE by comparison.

Essentially, you’re delivering a far smaller charge – and multiple charges do not cumulatively recreate the shock effect of a single large charge – with a less accurate delivery system. As shock effect varies with both size of charge and square of distance from target, those numbers don’t look good.

Last edited 6 months ago by N-a-B

I would agree with you on this, can’t see where this is really going! Small charge, no real accuracy in the delivery system as you say, a bit of a 2nd rate RBU system. I don’t even think it would work as a Sonobuoy delivery system, far to inaccurate even if they resolve the discharge pressure/force problem.

Supportive Bloke

Isn’t the primary role to delivery the Sonar Buoys: looking at the blurb?

Small depth charges are usually used to ‘heard’ subs away by essentially saying ‘we know where you are’ with the implicit ‘something bigger may be on its way’.


Fairly sure that using an explosive device to “herd a submarine away” is likely to end in tears (aka casus belli). Last I looked we only have one type of DC and its not small…..

If you have contact with a boat, you hold on to it wherever possible so you can kill it when you need to.

Glass Half Full

Perhaps, but BAES is certainly advocating the depth charges as the Fix component of a layered ASW Find-Fix-Finish system, per “Layered ASW” video at bottom of web page linked below.

They are also illustrating a VLA using the FLWT, in addition to helicopter and TLS launch options. Whether its accurate or not, they also show the VLA launching from Sea Ceptor cells rather than Mk41.


Apparently the Italians have developed a drone that can be fired out of an MBT’s main gun. I am still trying to figure out why.


They’ve run out of Pasta Shells !


B’dum tish!


I was quite pleased with that one truth be known !!!!


Your taxi is here…….. 🙂


So from my brief reading of Kingfisher is, it’s job isn’t intended to be killing SSNs, but stuff below that:

  • “warning shot”
  • sonar spoofing
  • killing gliders/small USVs
  • Possibly even anti-torpedo

The smaller stuff in particular. Swarms of underwater drones etc.

Last edited 6 months ago by RichardIC

Saab ASW-601 antisubmarine grenade launcher. Although the system is for short-range, shallow water ASW, its depth-charge detonation scheme and penetration power is interesting.

But, I guess the system will NOT be efficient in blue-water ASW. Also, the system is designed to launch 36 granades at once. For a 5in gun to do it with 25 rounds/min firing rate, it needs more than a minute.

Overall, I have no idea what kind of usefulness Kingfisher may have.


The Ultra Electronics sonobuoy dispenser for MQ-8C, and/or the sonobuoy dispenser systems (SDS) for Maritime Protector, could also be carried onboard Wildcat helicopter? If so, UK can start trying such use right now.

With improving SSK, sonobuoy once became less effective. There is a saying that “to detect a modern SSK, you need to deploy your (passive) sonobuoy right on top of the SSK. If placed farther, no signal can be detected”. So, low-frequency dipping sonar became major.

Effectiveness of sonobuoy in multi-static mode is the new trend. It looks promising, but not yet “common”. I think trial with Wildcat will tell us how efficient it will be?


“… why the RN has not already bought a few small, affordable RWUAVs for reconnaissance work, such as the Leonardo AW Hero or Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 is difficult to understand” is a good point. I also had the same impression.

But, reluctance of adopting S-100 or AW Hero in number is seen world-wide, and there seems to be some reason.

Although not sure, I guess either not-enough reliability and/or low operational availability due to rough weather might be the issue? Note that ship-based ScanEagle did not become common, because of “not enough” reliability. I do not have statistical data, but in many ScanEagel trials, loss of air-frame is frequently reported.

Glass Half Full

I suspect its because of the rapid rate of change/improvement in UAS over the last few years.

If the need is short range/lower endurance then there is higher reliability, easier support and maintenance and lower cost from platforms like Malloy T-150/400, also greater deck safety with the smaller blades. And they pack up into a large suitcase. Much easier to deploy on small vessels and in multiples on larger vessels.

If the need is longer range and/or speed, then the development of vertical take off UAS that transition to winged horizontal flight, provide greater range, endurance and probably payload.


Why wait for the development of an unmanned tiltrotor, when deploying a couple of AWHeros somewhere like HMS Medway or Trent could transform the sensory capability of the OPV through height alone and give the RN real world operational experience? There will always be “something better” just around the corner.


Thanks. I think both is true.

But, when the requirement is there, they buy it. See Wasp helicopter. Far from the best, but worked well.

So, need (or requirements) for RWAS might be not yet clear; what size, what range, what cost and how many man-powers. As such, trial and testing is very important.

RN already trying Puma small UAV. T-150 follows. There small and cheap ones will be a good introduction.

Glass Half Full

It doesn’t have to be tiltrotor if by that you mean something like Bell V-247. Many different types are already flying, or about to, which do the vertical to horizontal transition; ranging from smaller to larger payloads.

Why waste time and money developing operational concepts on legacy rotary wing platforms with legacy performance constraints?



Thanks. Very impressive, but in two ways.

Good models are designed,
But, the most attractive ones are more premature (in some cases, there is even no “news” within 2 years)

I think starting with T-150 or alike = whatever available NOW, will be a better way to go. The technology will rapidly grow at least in these 10 years. If we wait until it being “so so mature”, it will be 2030, I’m afraid.

Glass Half Full

The RN UAS programs seem to be on a fast track for operational high end fixed and rotary wing UAS by 2030 according to the Future Maritime Aviation Force (FMAF) slides, so I don’t think we need to be concerned.

The MoD and RN issued RFI006 in December 2020 for Maritime Heavy Lift UAS, the target specs seem a very good fit for Malloy solutions. This is likely to be the “Small UAS Light LOGISTICS (AW & Land)” illustrated in the FMAF.

They also issued RFI009 in February 2021 for maritime airborne un-crewed or autonomous UAS for use within the Royal Navy for threat simulation, “… with potential for spiral development to assist the creation of the Future Maritime Aviation Force (FMAF), the rapid transformation of crewed aviation roles (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Communications, Lift and Strike) to uncrewed.” The ideal requirements for this are specified as max altitude 35,000 feet, speed >460kts, High G capable and Low Observable so this would potentially spiral into the Vixen fixed wing UAS in the FMAF.

I haven’t seen a RFI that would relate to the FMAF rotary wing Proteus platform, intended to find underwater threats. This might use platforms like Hero or Camcopter, but is likely to be better served with a hybrid fixed/rotary platforms I outlined earlier.

I’m not clear on which platforms have no news for 2 years? For me the most impressive are those of Sabrewing’s and Samad’s, because they address large platform needs, and both have been in the news recently.


Cool. I was thinking of the Sabrewing Rhaegal, which I know is being militarized. But that’s a great list. Thanks for posting.

Nice to see a tailsitter!

Last edited 6 months ago by Jon

My guess is they can’t afford to train and pay the extra crew to operate them.


A few additional P8s would be a good start.


Yes. We need two for home and one to follow the carrier. Fifteen seems a nice round number.


But you know how the RAF works, 2-3 would be in storage to be a long term attrition reserve, another 2 for maintenance balancing and that only leaves 4-5 for every day use. Its a commercial airframe so its designed to be 8-10 hours a day every day but they dont think like that. That massive hangar that Boeing has built under their maintenance contract means they will utilise it.




The RN used to be better with its nuclear submarine operations/maintenance balance. Im wondering if a 50:50 is still achievable?
This House of Commons question and answer to the nuclear submarine ‘availabilty’ back in 2000 when there were 12 in the fleet seems to suggest that half or 6 were available
Mr. Hoon: (a) Of the Royal Navy’s seven Trafalgar Class submarines, three are operationally available and four are in refit, extended maintenance or repair.
(b) Of the RN’s five Swiftsure Class, three are operationally available and two are in refit, extended maintenance or repair.


3 for 1 at a push. But submarines aren’t getting simpler. No best purchased in 4’s for 1. More availability is a bonus. But you can’t build a safe system for such complicated (and dangerous) machines pushing things to a limit; there shouldn’t be a risk. See HMS Vanguard.

Availability for aeroplanes has always been a mystery to me.


In the Naval Technology report on “Atlantis” a RN graphic refers to underwater gliders feeding back data to other underwater assets. Does anyone know what what the status of remote underwater communications is like?


Not good enough for some of these science-fiction systems. What makes submarines work is the crew because the platform is very isolated in terms of communications. Machines in controlled aren’t that bright. Machines tossed out into the harsh of the sea would struggle.


Fair enough. But the navies seem to want them and merely collecting intel is an important task and do the other side know you are a drone or proper sub until they spend some listening to your sounds or actually paint you with active sonar.


Are you familiar with the 1957 Defence White Paper?


Anyone seen a once prolific defence forum ?


Have you lost one? What’s its name?

Last edited 6 months ago by X

Well It was called “Save the Royal Navy” This place only seems to have one article a week.


There’s not much happening really.