Black Shark Torpedo

Black Shark Torpedo

Black Shark Torpedo
Type Heavyweight torpedo
Place of origin Italy Italy
Service history
In service 2004–present
Used by French Navy
Chilean Navy
Marina Militare
Production history
Manufacturer Whitehead Div., Alenia Defesa
Length 6300 mm
Diameter 21 in (533 mm)

Effective range 50 km
Warhead high explosive STANAG 4439 and MURAT-2 compliant
Warhead weight Classified

Engine contra-rotating direct-drive brushless motor
Propellant Al-AgO battery
Speed 50 kt

The Black Shark is a recent heavyweight torpedo introduced by Whitehead and most closely associated with the French Scorpene submarines and further now being deployed on the 209 class submarines.


Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei Italy, needed a more recent offering in the heavyweight torpedo market given that Atlas Elektronik of Wedel, Germany produces the DM2A4 torpedo system on the International market and the A184 system was showing its age and not competing as well as the company would have preferred. The heavyweight torpedo market that has seen expansion as of late with the sale of both the Scorpene and the U 209/212 submarines around the world, Greece, Portugal, Chile, Malaysia and India, being some of the latest. The A184 system has long been deployed by the Italian Navy and is currently using the mod 3 design. While a capable system, Whitehead believed that advances in fiber optics and the continual advancement of electronics allowed the development of more competitive design with the newer entries in the market. The resulting work produced a heavyweight torpedo system with advanced ECCM abilities, and a very advanced sonar. The advancements in electric motor design and batteries allowed an increase in both range and speed.


The Black Shark torpedo offers fiber optic wire for increased bandwidth and signal processing ability compared to wire guided torpedo types. The sonar capability include non-Doppler shifted target discrimination and multi-frequency capability and features fairly impressive spacial and angular analysis abilities. The design goal for the torpedo was 300 percent improvement of passive acquisition and 200 percent active acquisition with its sonar system. The brush-less motor design coupled with the aluminum-silver oxide Al-AgO battery (reputed to have twice the energy capacity of silver-zinc type battery) gives the system a + 50 knot, 50 km, performance envelope. Battery designs power systems do not suffer the loss of performance of Otto fuel II types at greater depths since there is no exhaust to deal with at greater pressures. The result is a 150 percent improvement in speed and 200 percent in torpedo endurance. The French defense company DCNS and WASS announced that they will be using the technology to develope the F21 heavyweight torpedo system which has an expected delivery in 2015.


See Also

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