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The Russian Navy Is Going All In On a New Generation of Killer Torpedoes

Russia's Kilo-Class Submarine
Pictured is a Kilo-Class Russian Submarine in the English Channel. The image was taken from Royal Navy Wildcat HMA2 Helicopter of 815 Naval Air Squadron. Kilo class is the NATO reporting name for the diesel-electric attack submarine.

Torpedo technology vastly improved in the Cold War, and while Russia has a range of torpedoes in its arsenal many are best considered “old and obsolete.” However, Moscow has steadily “upped its game” with better and more advanced torpedoes in recent years.

In 2017 it introduced the Futlyar (Fizik-2), a deep-water homing torpedo that is wire-guided and combustion-driven. It has a top speed of over 60 knots and a maximum depth capability of more than 500 meters. It has been employed on the new Borei and Yasen-class nuclear submarines.

The heavyweight torpedo can also be fired from surface vessels, while it is intended to engage surface and underwater targets in deep water. It can also be controllable from inside the submarine that launches it as well. It is not what could be described even remotely as a “fire and forget” weapon.

Combat Turtles?

But the Futlyar isn’t the only new torpedo that Moscow has focused on in recent years. Russia has also developed so-called “combat turtles,” which were designed to fool enemy sensors into thinking they are fish. The mini-torpedoes are noiseless, leave no wake and while slow moving could be devastating to enemy vessels.

Target Locked On

All of the Russian Navy‘s torpedoes could soon be even more deadly as the Tecmash Group – part of the Technodinamika conglomerate within the state-owned tech conglomerate Rostec – announced that it has developed torpedo homing technology that could greatly boost the target detection range as well as the kill accuracy of the weapons. The homing technology recently passed qualifications, Tass reported on Thursday.

“The electronic equipment for torpedo homing systems has successfully passed qualification trials,” Tecmash Executive Director Alexander Kochkin said in a statement to the Russian news media.

“It can be used for sets of torpedoes of various caliber designated to strike underwater and surface targets. Specialists have increased the range of detecting the target and boosted the probability of hitting it,” explained Kochkin and further added that the new technology has the potential to outshine domestic and foreign versions by its basic parameters.

According to the reports, the new torpedo homing equipment was developed by the Novosibirsk Research Institute of Electronic Instruments (NIIEP) and the improved system features smaller dimensions, lower power consumption and notably reduced cost. NIIEP, which is also part of Rostec, is a leading Russian enterprise that has been engaged in developing short-range radars operating in the decimeter to optical electromagnetic wavelength spectrum as well as in creating onboard computers and automated machines for various armaments and military hardware, from weapons of mass destruction to precision missile and torpedo armaments.

The Russian-based enterprise has a proven track record, as it has developed and is producing proximity fuse systems for various missile weapons, including S-300, Tor, Kinzhal and Iskander-M complexes, Grad, Smerch, and Tornado multiple rocket launchers. Based on the capabilities of those systems, NIIEP could make Russia’s torpedoes just as deadly.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.