The Buzz

Russia Has a Super Torpedo That Kills Submarines at 200 Miles Per Hour (And America Can't Match It)

In 2004, German defense contractor Diehl-BGT announced the Barracuda, a technology demonstrator torpedo meant to travel up to 194 knots. Barracuda was meant to be launched from submarines and surface vessels, and test models could travel straight and curved paths. However, the program apparently never translated into a marketable weapon.

A noisy—but effective—weapon, Shkval smashes the paradigm of undersea warfare. A 200 knot torpedo is a very attractive capability, and as naval competition heats up in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, we may see even more navies adopting supercavitating designs and adjusting their undersea tactics accordingly. Undersea warfare is about to get a whole lot louder—and deadlier.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

Image: USS Seawolf conducts Bravo sea trials. Wikimedia Commons/Public domain.

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