Black Shark torpedo
|Black Shark Torpedo|
|Place of origin||Italy|
|Used by|| Chilean Navy
Royal Malaysian Navy
Ecuadorian Navy 
|Manufacturer||Whitehead Sistemi Subacquei|
|Length||6.3 m (21 ft)|
|Diameter||533 mm (21.0 in)|
|Effective firing range||50 km (27 nmi)|
|Warhead||high explosive STANAG 4439 and MURAT-2 compliant|
|Engine||contra-rotating direct-drive brushless motor|
The Black Shark is a heavyweight torpedo developed by Whitehead Sistemi Subacquei of Italy. It is most closely associated with the Scorpène diesel-electric submarines produced by France for the export market, but is also found on some Type 209 submarines.
Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei Italy, needed a more recent offering in the heavyweight torpedo market given that Atlas Elektronik, Germany had developed the DM2A4 Heavyweight Torpedo (export designation SeaHake mod4) for deployment on the new Type 212N Submarines of the German Navy. Furthermore the A184 system was an aging system that WASS considered as uncompetitive on the growing heavyweight torpedo export market, that of late has seen expansion with the sale of both the Scorpene and the U 209/210/212 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 with the mod3 design remaining as its standard Heavyweight Torpedo. While a capable system, WASS sought to attain advances in fibre optics and the continual improvement to electronics in developing the Black Shark thus creating a more competitive design in comparison to recent market entries. The resulting work produced a heavyweight torpedo system with advanced ECCM abilities and an advanced sonar. The advancements in electric motor design and battery allowed an increase in both range and speed.
The Black Shark torpedo offers fibre optic wire for increased bandwidth and signal processing ability compared to copper wire guided torpedo types. The sonar capability include non-doppler shifted target discrimination and multi-frequency capability that features advanced spacial and angular analysis abilities. The design goal for the torpedo was 300% improvement of passive acquisition and 200% active acquisition with its sonar system. The brushless motor design coupled with the aluminum-silver oxide (Al-AgO) battery gives the system a top speed 50+ knot, and a range of 50 km, performance envelope. Like all other battery powered HWTs, the battery power system does 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% improvement in speed and 200% in torpedo endurance.
In 2008 France signed a development contract for 93 heavy torpedoes for its nuclear submarines, to be delivered from 2015. The original plan called for a derivative of the Black Shark to be built by a joint venture between DCNS, Thales and WASS, but they fell out and DCNS will now be developing the F21 Artemis with Thales and Atlas Elektronik. The F21 shares similarities with the Black Shark, including an electric motor driven by an aluminium silver-oxide (AgO-Al) battery. It will have a warhead of PBX B2211, range of 50 km (31 mi) and speed of 50 knots (93 km/h). As of 2012[update] the project has a €485m budget with a unit cost of €2.3m (FY12), or €5.2m including development costs. The F21 was first tested on DCNS's Pégase catamaran in February 2013 and a submarine launch is planned for 2014, with production deliveries scheduled to start in late 2015.
- DM2A4 Sea Hake mod 4 - German equivalent using silver-zinc batteries
- Spearfish torpedo - British equivalent
- Mark 48 torpedo - US equivalent
- Yu-6 torpedo - Chinese equivalent
- "Submarine Orders Are a Boon for Torpedo Market". Aviationweek.com. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- "A184/Black Shark (Italy) - Jane's Naval Weapon Systems". Articles.janes.com. 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- "Projet de loi de finances pour 2013 : Défense : équipement des forces" (in French). Senate of France. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "Black Shark torpedo derivative to arm French nuclear submarines". Frontier India News Network. 2008-04-12. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- Mackenzie, Christina (2 February 2011). "France Adds New Torpedo To Submarine Arsenal". Aviation Week.
- Barreira, Victor (13 November 2013). "F21 torpedo set for French submarine firing in 2014". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.