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Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo, SMART

Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo, SMART was successfully flight tested on 05 October 2020 from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha. Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO said, all the mission objectives including missile flight upto the range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, release of Torpedo and deployment of Velocity Reduction Mechanism (VRM) have been met perfectly. The longest range of Heavy Torpedo system world over is usually around 50km and even rocket-assisted ones have a range of 140-150km but SMART due to Hybrid technologies will have a range of 650km.

SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti-Submarine Warfare or ASW operations far beyond Torpedo range. The launch and demonstration are significant in establishing Anti-Submarine warfare capabilities.

A number of DRDO laboratories including DRDL, RCI Hyderabad, ADRDE Agra, NSTL Visakhapatnam have developed the technologies required for SMART. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO Scientists and other stake holders for the important feat. Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy, said that SMART is a game changer technology demonstration in the Anti-Submarine Warfare.

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The problems of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) have long been a serious concern of the United States and of many other nations. Both the United States and the Soviet Union have experimented with such Hybrid technologies at the height of Cold-war and DRDOs SMART weapon system closely resembles Boeing s UUM-125 Sea Lance developed for the United States Navy in the 80s but later suspended.

The capability of waging war effectively and of defending against attack by other nations depends in part upon protecting merchant shipping and naval vessels against attack by enemy submarines. Techniques for detecting enemy submarines have developed to a very sophisticated level. However, the ability to deliver a warhead to a point where destruction of the submarine is virtually assured has not kept pace.

Since World War II, the effective range of depth charges has been extended by the inclusion of rocket propulsion systems to direct the weapon farther out from the launching ship. While this extends the range and thus increases the safety of the launching ship, these weapons must still drop almost directly on the enemy submarine in order to be assured of a kill. More sophisticated ASW weapons have been developed in the form of anti-submarine torpedoes having the capability of detecting and homing on a submarine after the torpedo is in the water. The ASROC system has been developed to provide air launching and delivery of a torpedo to the vicinity of a submarine, where the torpedo enters the water and thereafter detects the submarine and homes on it for the kill.

Modern warships use guided missiles as their principal offensive and defensive weapons. Considering that a naval engagement may require the firing of many missiles, a warship must have many missiles available for immediate launch. This need has been met by various multiple-missile launchers, in which individual launch locations are loaded with missiles which may be individually launched. The shipboard environment is always subject to space limitations. As the need for more missile firepower has increased, the packing density of the individual multiple-missile launchers has increased, with more missile launch locations within a given region of the ship. The MK29 is a multiple-missile rail-type launcher which holds about eight Sea Sparrow missiles.

In addition to the need to launch multiple missiles within a short space of time, a need has also developed to launch, from a single missile launcher, missiles of different mission types, as for example antiaircraft missiles and cruise missiles. For example, the below-deck Mk41 launcher accepts canisterized missiles, in which each canister contains a single-mission missile. The canisters are loaded into corresponding canister holding chambers or cells in the Mk41.

Submarine weapons for the combating of submarines are known as torpedoes which, upon entering the water, will locate a submarine by means of the acoustic target seeking device and are steered toward the submarine by means of a steering unit evaluating the ranging results (homing). The torpedoes are usually equipped with a relatively low-noise propeller drive unit in order to prevent impairment of the function of the acoustic target seeking device by too high an intrinsic noise level. The propeller in this system is driven by a gas turbine, an internal combustion engine, or an electric motor.

A submarine weapon for antisubmarine use has been known under the term ASROC system, consisting of a torpedo of the MK 46 type, a rocket engine, and a parachute. This system is airborne, i.e. it is fired in each case from a surface vessel or an aircraft. Upon entrance into the water, the torpedo separates from the other parts of the system and is caused to home after target detection. The propeller-driven torpedoes have the draw-back of mechanically very sophisticated drive mechanisms causing a great deal of expenditure. In case the propeller is driven electrically, a considerable portion of the volume and weight of the torpedo is taken by the batteries. Additionally, such torpedoes are not exempt from servicing over a prolonged period of time; rather, the torpedoes must be operated at regular intervals to ensure their functioning.

It is of course the immediate purpose of anti-submarine operations to effect delivery and detonation of explosive charges within lethal distance of the enemy submarine under attack. Of present interest in such respect are the shipborne anti-submarine weapons of prior art homing torpedo type, these being launched from tubes, or catapulted into the water a short distance from the ship, such weapons in any event being characterized by an entirely or principally underwater mode of transport to the suspect target area. It might seem that such anti-submarine homing weapons would be particularly efiicacious at all times because of their target-seeking, pursuing and attack capabilities.

Homing torpedoes nevertheless present limitations which are bound to seriously reduce their eifectiveness in certain tactical situations likely to be encountered in actual sea warfare. Specifically, an enemy submarine can be expected to approach a target ship closely enough to place it within range of torpedoes carried by the submarine, but not so closely as to place itself within easy reach of depth charges or homing torpedoes carried by that target ship or by escort destroyers or other warships. Prior art shipborne anti-submarine torpedoes are at an immediate disadvantage under such circumstances, since the range at which a homing torpedo can detect the presence and direction of a target submarine is no more than a small fraction of the stand-off range from which a submarine can fire its spread of torpedoes.

In an attempt to overcome this difficulty, advanced types of ship-launched anti-submarine torpedoes have been designed to first proceed along a predetermined course toward the suspect area, then to enter some type of scanning search for the target, followed by switchover to a homing and pursuit phase if and when the target submarine is in fact detected. Despite such automatized sophistication of modern anti-submarine homing torpedoes, they will not have good kill probability when employed by vessels under circumstances as indicated above, due to inherent limitations of the torpedo itself as to speed, total range and target detection range, but particularly as to relatively long swim-out time which will generally enable the target submarine to have escaped from the target detection field of the ship-launched torpedoes by the time they arrive at the originally suspect area.

It is possible to overcome this serious difiiculty to some extent by use of an anti-submarine weapon of the type disclosed in the copending and commonly assigned US. patent application entitled Missile, S.N. 790,976, filed February 3, 1959, by H. G. Johnson and H. Silk. Basically, such a weapon greatly reduces the delivery time by rocket-launching itself from say a destroyer or other Warship to travel at high speed above water toward a suspect target area, yet operates further to deliver its anti-submarine payload to that area at a safely reduced water-entry speed, thus avoiding malfunction problems which would otherwise be occasioned by high-speed water impact forces. Such type of anti-submarine weapon provides a practicable solution to the problem of effecting undamaged delivery of special payloads, such as homing torpedoes, to comparatively distant underwater target areas and in shorter times, thus with greater kill probability than is possible with earlier ship-borne homing torpedoes having principally an underwater mode of transport to the target area. In these recently developed weapons, the homing torpedo or other anti-submarine payload is carried by a rocketpowered airframe which is launched at substantially a 45 elevation angle. The rocket motor burns out after a comparatively short interval; the weapon continues at high speed in a substantially ballistic trajectory; the airframe separates, and a drag parachute secured by shroud-lines to the payload deploys, at a preselected time corresponding to the desired range; and the payload thereafter enters a descending path toward the suspect water area but under deceleration as imposed by the drag parachute.

A parachute release coupling automatically separates the parachute from the payload, upon water entry thereof, in response to reduction in pull force. In accordance with prior art characteristics of such weapons, and within their adjustable-range capabilities, the water-entry range is dependent principally upon airframe separation time as measured from the weapon launching instant.

While it has become possible in recent years to detect submerged target submarines at comparatively long range, the rocket-thrown weapons are in actual practice limited to a maximum water-entry range of about 5,000 yards. This limitation stems from the requirement that, to find actual utility for fleet use, anti-submarine weapons must also be capable of attacking their targets at lesser ranges down to at least a minimum of the order of 1,500 yards. In the particular combination characterizing the prior art rocket-thrown weapons, such minimum range requirement dictates limiting upper values upon the distance traversed and upon the velocity ac quired by the weapon at the time of motor burnout, correspondingly forcing a limiting value upon the total impulse rating of the rocket motor and thus upon the maximum water-entry range attainable.

Proposals to employ a rocket motor of greater total impulse in rocket-thrown weapons, in order to extend the maximum range thereof, and to then obtain lesser ranges down to the desired minimum simply by operational changes such as by setting airframe separation time to a lesser value than motor burnout time, perhaps in combination with launching at other than a 45 elevation angle, have been found impractical.

An improved rocket-thrown anti-submarine weapon concept making the water entry range of the weapon a function not simply of airframe separation time as heretofore, but also strongly dependent upon still another factor, specifically upon rocket motor thrust termination earlier than normal burnout time and in response to preselected elapsed time, distance traversed, or velocity acquired. The rocketthrown anti-submarine weapon here disclosed thus presents a novel combination employing, in concert, two principles each effecting large control over waterentry range and in a manner making it possible to satisfactorily and reliably achieve an extended maximum water-entry range and a heretofore incompatible minimum water-entry range.

Impelled by rocket propulsion, the weapon projects itself from any suitable launcher, carried by a warship, which may be trained at an angle of substantially 45 to provide maximum range capability. The weapon pursues an essen tially ballistic trajectory at relatively high speed until, at a point which is reached at a predetermined and preselected instant associated with the particular range desired, explosive separation devices carried by the Weapon are detonated to rupture a banding arrangement and to thus release hinged members of the airframe from engagement with the payload. The hinged members then open away from the payload, and in so doing serve as airbrakes to retard the airframe assembly relative to the payload.

In the course of such retardation, a parachute-opening lanyard, extending from the packed parachute and secured to the airframe, comes under tension and breaks as the parachute canopy pulls out, the airframe then breaking apart at the rear hinge structure of its hinged members 24 and tumbling free as indicated, these events taking place in a rapid sequence lasting only a fraction of a second as measured from the detonation instant. Upon deployment of the parachute, the payload 16 continues its airfiight along a non-ballistic path toward the suspect area, the payload descending at an increasingly steep angle, as indicated, but with decrease in speed to a safe water-entry value because of parachute drag. At water entry of the payload, the reduction in pull force then experienced by the shroud lines causes the coupling mechanism to unlock, releasing the parachute and enabling the payload 16 to proceed unimpeded in its underwater phase of attack against the target submarine.

The anti-submarine weapon as described presents significant and novel improvements in structure which reduce its weight, simplify its manufacture and assembly, extend its maximum range capability with a rocket motor of any given total impulse, and further provide a strengthened and cleaner aerodynamic configuration which increases its accuracy of delivery.

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Page last modified: 23-10-2020 12:55:50 ZULU