Spar torpedo

spar torpedoessparspars
Spar torpedoes were superseded by the automotive torpedo.

Stepan Makarov

Stepan Osipovich MakarovAdmiral MakarovMakarov
Makarov was highly decorated for his service as a captain of the Russian torpedo boat tender in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. He was one of the first to adopt the idea of using flotillas of torpedo boats and had combat experience as a torpedo boat commander. On 14 January 1878 he launched torpedoes from a boat (which itself was launched from a tender) sinking the Ottoman Navy vessel Intibakh at Batumi in the world's first successful attack using the self-propelled Whitehead torpedo. From 1879–1880, he was part of the maritime contingent during the Russian conquest of Central Asia. He was promoted to captain, 1st rank, on 1 January 1881.

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy KieslerLamarr, HedyHedy Lammarr
At the beginning of World War II, Lamarr and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, intended to use frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. Although the US Navy did not adopt the technology until the 1960s, various spread-spectrum techniques are incorporated into Bluetooth technology and are similar to methods used in legacy versions of Wi-Fi. Recognition of the value of this work resulted in the pair being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

Bradley A. Fiske

Bradley FiskeBradley Allen Fiske
In 1910, while considering the problem of defending the Philippine islands, Fiske conceived of the idea of equipping aircraft with lightweight torpedoes. Fiske worked out the mechanics of carrying and releasing an aerial torpedo from a bomber, and defined tactics that included a night-time approach so that the target ship would be less able to defend itself. Airplanes large enough to suit his purpose were not available until 1912, at which point Fiske was able to implement his design. Fiske reported in 1915 that, using this method, enemy fleets could be attacked within their own harbors, and remarked that he had invented not just a new weapon but an entirely new method of warfare.

British 21-inch torpedo

21 inch (533 mm)21 in21-inch (533 mm)
From 1939, used by submarines, motor torpedo boats and destroyers from other navies such as the Grom. Electric battery powered torpedo with a 322 kg TNT warhead. Entering service during the Second World War it was used by destroyers. At first codenamed Ferry, then Fancy, the Mark 12 never reached production. From 1952, it had a warhead of 340 kg Torpex. Using high test peroxide fuel, it attained a top speed of 28 kn for 5 km. There were accidents during testing caused by the unstable nature of high test peroxide. One such engine explosion, after loading aboard the submarine HMS Sidon, caused enough damage to have the submarine taken permanently out of service.

Hasan al-Rammah

Hassan Al-Rammah
Hasan al-Rammah (died 1295) was an Arab chemist and engineer during the Mamluk Sultanate who studied gunpowders and explosives, and sketched prototype instruments of warfare, including the first torpedo. Al-Rammah called his early torpedo "an egg which moves itself and burns." It was made of two sheet-pans of metal fastened together and filled with naptha, metal filings, and saltpeter. It was intended to move across the surface of the water, propelled by a large rocket and kept on course by a small rudder. Al-Rammah devised several new types of gunpowder, and he invented a new type of fuse and two types of lighters.

Battle of the Atlantic

AtlanticBattle of the Atlantic (1939-1945)Atlantic convoys
The development of torpedoes also improved with the pattern-running Flächen-Absuch-Torpedo (FAT), which ran a pre-programmed course criss-crossing the convoy path and the G7es acoustic torpedo (known to the Allies as German Naval Acoustic Torpedo, GNAT), which homed on the propeller noise of a target. This was initially very effective, but the Allies quickly developed counter-measures, both tactical ("Step-Aside") and technical ("Foxer"). None of the German measures were truly effective, and by 1943 Allied air power was so strong U-boats were being attacked in the Bay of Biscay shortly after leaving port. The Germans had lost the technological race.

E. W. Bliss Company

Bliss and WilliamsE. W. Bliss
The company produced a line of special presses adapted for sheet metal work, power stamping machines, automobile parts, torpedoes, shrapnel and armor-piercing projectiles. Notable among these products were the Whitehead torpedo, the Bliss-Leavitt torpedo and the Bliss automobile. Bliss obtained defense contracts for the manufacture of torpedoes, used by the US Navy, and munitions during the Spanish–American War, World War I and World War II. Bliss machines were often huge and very heavy, powered by steam and were sold or used by the company itself to manufacture pressed metal products.

Gallipoli campaign

GallipoliBattle of GallipoliDardanelles Campaign
Roads were constructed, small boats built to carry troops and equipment across the Narrows, beaches were wired and improvised mines were constructed from torpedo warheads. Trenches and gun emplacements were dug along the beaches and troops went on route marches to avoid lethargy. Kemal, whose 19th Division was vital to the defensive scheme, observed the beaches and awaited signs of an invasion from his post at Boghali, near Maidos. The Ottomans created a small air force with German assistance and had four aircraft operating around Çanakkale in February, conducting reconnaissance and army co-operation sorties.

Fast attack craft

fast attackFACfast-attack craft
Torpedo boat. Motor Torpedo Boat. Missile boat. Patrol boat.

Brennan torpedo

Brennan Torpedo Factorytorpedo
Louis Brennan CB: Dirigible torpedo. 22pp. Louis Brennan CB Exhibition, 12–26 May 1973. Victorian Forts - Brennan Torpedo. Brennan Torpedo 1887 - animation showing mechanism and use.

Pre-dreadnought battleship

pre-dreadnoughtpre-dreadnoughtspredreadnought battleship
Their role was to give short-range protection against torpedo boats, or to rake the deck and superstructure of a battleship. In addition to their gun armament, many pre-dreadnought battleships were armed with torpedoes, fired from fixed tubes located either above or below the waterline. By the pre-dreadnought era the torpedo was typically 18 in in diameter and had an effective range of several thousand metres. However, it was virtually unknown for a battleship to score a hit with a torpedo. Pre-dreadnought battleships carried a considerable weight of steel armour.

Mark 18 torpedo

Mark 18Mark 18 electric torpedoMark 18-1 electric torpedoes
The Mark 18 was 20 ft long, weighed 3,154 lb, had a warhead of 575 lb of Torpex with a contact exploder, and had a speed of 29 knot and a maximum range of 4000 yd. By July 1944, an improved version had appeared. *American 21 inch torpedo * discusses how the Mk 18 was based on the G7e * Mark 18 Torpedo Service Manual, US Navy


These included Barnes Wallis's bouncing bomb, designed to bounce across water, avoiding torpedo nets and other underwater defenses, until it reached a dam, ship, or other destination, where it would sink and explode.

Pendulum-and-hydrostat control

hydrostatic valve and pendulumbellows and pendulum systemhydrostatic valve and pendulum balance
Pendulum-and-hydrostat control is a control mechanism developed originally for depth control of the Whitehead torpedo. It is an early example of what is now known as proportional and derivative control The hydrostat is a mechanism that senses pressure; the torpedo's depth is proportional to pressure. However, with only a hydrostat controlling the depth fins, the torpedo tends to oscillate around the desired depth rather than settling to the desired depth. The addition of a pendulum allows the torpedo to sense the pitch of the torpedo. The pitch information is combined with the depth information to set the torpedo's depth control fins.

Spearfish torpedo

SpearfishSpearfish heavyweight torpedoSpearfish heavyweight torpedoes
On 15 December 2014, the Ministry of Defence awarded BAE Systems a £270 million contract to upgrade the Spearfish torpedo. The upgrade includes a new insensitive-munition warhead from TDW, a change to the fuel system to improve safety, full digitisation of the weapon and a new fibre optic guidance link to improve performance. The upgraded torpedoes will enter service between 2020 and 2024. * Spearfish Torpedo Mark 48 torpedo. DM2A4 heavyweight torpedo. Fairey Spearfish, an unrelated 1940s torpedo bomber aircraft. Yu-6 torpedo. Varunastra (torpedo).

Tigerfish (torpedo)

Mark 24 TigerfishTigerfishTigerfish Mk 24 Mod 2 torpedoes
A measure of the Royal Navy's need for a reliable means of dealing with fast, deep-diving, time-urgent targets at long range resulted in a project to arm Tigerfish with a nuclear warhead to offset its poor diving depth and homing performance and to increase kill probability close to 90%. Various other measures were proposed in mid-1969, including purchase of U.S. weapons such as the Mark 45 ASTOR nuclear torpedo, the Mark 48 Mod-1 torpedo or the Subroc rocket. Alternatively, at the initiative of Flag Officer Submarines (FOSM), a nuclear warhead might be fitted to the unguided, shallow-running and short-ranged, but reliable Mark VIII torpedo.

John Ericsson

EricssonErickson Screw PropellerEricson
The DeLamater Iron Works also launched the first submarine boat, first self-propelled torpedo, and first torpedo boat. When DeLamater died on February 2, 1889, Ericsson could not be consoled. Ericsson's death one month later was not surprising to his close friends and acquaintances." Ericsson then proceeded to invent independently the caloric, or hot air, engine in the 1820s which used hot air, caloric in the scientific parlance of the day, instead of steam as a propellant. A similar device had been patented in 1816 by the Reverend Robert Stirling, whose technical priority of invention provides the usual term 'Stirling Engine' for the device.

Torpedo boat

torpedo boatstorpedo-boattorpedo craft
A torpedo boat is a relatively small and fast naval ship designed to carry torpedoes into battle. The first designs rammed enemy ships with explosive spar torpedoes, and later designs launched self-propelled Whitehead torpedoes. They were created to counter battleships and other slow and heavily armed ships by using speed, agility, and the power of their torpedo weapons. A number of inexpensive torpedo boats attacking en masse could overwhelm a larger ship's ability to fight them off using its large but cumbersome guns.


supercavitatingadvanced super-cavitating stealth shipsuper cavitating
The Kursk submarine accident was rumored to have been due to a faulty Shkval supercavitating torpedo, though later evidence points to a faulty 65-76 torpedo (see Kursk submarine disaster). Supercavitating torpedo. "Shkval" supercavitating torpedo. APS amphibious rifle. SPP-1 underwater pistol. Supercavitating propeller. Office of Naval Research (2004, June 14). Mechanics and energy conversion: high-speed (supercavitating) undersea weaponry (D&I). Retrieved April 12, 2006, from Office of Naval Research Home Page. Savchenko Y. N. (n.d.). CAV 2001 - Fourth Annual Symposium on Cavitation - California Institute of Technology Retrieved April 9, 2006, archived at Wayback Machine.

Acoustic torpedo

acousticacoustic homing torpedopassive acoustic
Acoustic homing torpedoes are equipped with a pattern of acoustic transducers on the nose of the weapon. By a process of phase delaying the signals from these transducers a series of "acoustic beams" (i.e. a variation of acoustic signal sensitivity dependent on the incident angle of the noise energy). In early homing torpedoes the "beam patterns" were fixed whereas in more modern weapons the patterns were modifiable under on-board computer control.

Imperial Japanese Navy

JapaneseJapanese NavyJapanese Imperial Navy
It allowed Japan to achieve mastery in the building of large units, since some of the ships were imported, and some others were built domestically at the arsenal of Yokosuka: This period also allowed Japan "to embrace the revolutionary new technologies embodied in torpedoes, torpedo-boats and mines, of which the French at the time were probably the world's best exponents". Japan acquired its first torpedoes in 1884, and established a "Torpedo Training Center" at Yokosuka in 1886. These ships, ordered during the fiscal years 1885 and 1886, were the last major orders placed with France. The unexplained sinking of en route from France to Japan in December 1886, created embarrassment however.

Torpedo Data Computer

TDCtorpedo data computerstorpedo fire control systems
The problem of aiming a torpedo has occupied military engineers since Robert Whitehead developed the modern torpedo in the 1860s. These early torpedoes ran at a preset depth on a straight course (consequently they are frequently referred to as "straight runners"). This was the state of the art in torpedo guidance until the development of the homing torpedo during the latter part of World War II. The vast majority of submarine torpedoes during World War II were straight running and these continued in use for many years after World War II. In fact, two World War II-era straight running torpedoes — fired by the British nuclear-powered submarine — sank the ARA General Belgrano in 1982.

Remote control

remote-controlledremoteinfrared remote control
Remotely operated torpedoes were demonstrated in the late 19th century in the form of several types of remotely controlled torpedoes. The early 1870s saw remotely controlled torpedoes by John Ericsson (pneumatic), John Louis Lay (electric wire guided), and Victor von Scheliha (electric wire guided). The Brennan torpedo, invented by Louis Brennan in 1877 was powered by two contra-rotating propellers that were spun by rapidly pulling out wires from drums wound inside the torpedo. Differential speed on the wires connected to the shore station allowed the torpedo to be guided to its target, making it "the world's first practical guided missile".

Mark 24 mine

FIDOMark 24 FIDO TorpedoFIDO Homing Torpedo
The concept of a torpedo which would "home" on its target had been studied by torpedo designers as far back as the first World War. While the concept was highly interesting, implementation had to await a better understanding of the physics of sound generation and transmission in the sea and the development of the technology from which such a torpedo could be designed and constructed. During World War II, German submarines were equipped with electrically driven acoustic homing torpedoes which had started development as far back as 1933. The Falke T-4 and Zaunkoenig T-5 torpedoes entering service in 1943 were designed to attack surface ships and ran at a preset depth.