British postwar "improved anti-ship torpedoes in development"

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In Friedman's British Cruisers book, he mentions that in the postwar fleet modernization plan (around 1947), where upgrades were being considered for existing cruisers, that "cruisers would retain their torpedo tubes wherever possible, so that they could fire the improved anti-ship torpedoes under development."
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Does anyone know what these torpedoes are? Navweaps and Campbell's Naval Weapons have no information on these torpedoes (which would assumedly be surface-launched 533mm anti-ship torpedoes).
 
I suspect that is referring to the Mk20 Bidder torpedo.

Electrically powered, 15 knots and 24 knots as speed settings. The surface ship version was never completed.

Bidder was an ASW weapon, not an anti-ship torpedo.

Could be as simple as a reference to newer versions of the MkVIII that had been used on destroyers? Given the obsession with the Sverdlovs, keeping heavyweight torpedoes is consistent with other RN efforts.
 
Bidder was an ASW weapon, not an anti-ship torpedo.

Could be as simple as a reference to newer versions of the MkVIII that had been used on destroyers? Given the obsession with the Sverdlovs, keeping heavyweight torpedoes is consistent with other RN efforts.
The Mk VIII was used on destroyers? This seems unlikely, given that the torpedoes have different lengths (6.6 vs 7.28 for the destroyer Mk IX), and that the Mk VIII has significantly less range -- for example, the Japanese cruiser Haguro was sunk by British destroyer torpedoes fired outside the Mk VIII's maximum range.
 
The Mk VIII was used on destroyers? This seems unlikely, given that the torpedoes have different lengths (6.6 vs 7.28 for the destroyer Mk IX), and that the Mk VIII has significantly less range -- for example, the Japanese cruiser Haguro was sunk by British destroyer torpedoes fired outside the Mk VIII's maximum range.

Navweaps says it was. They certainly could be wrong; that isn't a topic I know a ton about.

The Mark 8** was the British torpedo most used during World War II and was supplied to destroyers and MTBs as well as submarines.

 
Does anyone know what these torpedoes are? Navweaps and Campbell's Naval Weapons have no information on these torpedoes (which would assumedly be surface-launched 533mm anti-ship torpedoes).
Strongly suspect it may be about Z-weapons - like Zonal:

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- or Zannet:

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They were designed around 1947-1948 exactly as next-generation anti-ship weapon (Zonal was a flying homing torpedo with dual air-water propulsion, Zannet was a radio-controlled torpedo-carrying drone, capable of both flight and underwater operations).
 
There were also HTP-fuelled projects as well, a ship-launched version of Fancy and I think there was a surface-launched version of the Pentane homing torpedo planned (can't remember the codename off the top of my head).
 
Remember Bootleg as well. Rocket driven torpedo.
 
They look like props from a 50s B-grade sci-fi movie
Ironically, they were called exactly that by the director of torpedo development department) Zonal was especially unrealistic, because it required a whole lot of high-performing components - like ultra-compact 900 h.p. methanol-oxygen engine, dual-medium transmission for single propeller (capable of moving torpedo both in water and air with high enough velocity), active acoustic guidance system... Nothing of this actually existed or even was developed to any sufficient degree; despite that, hydrodynamic models of Zonal were build and tested. As many sources noted, the whole development of Zonal was turned upside-down - instead of developing first, testing later, they started to test hydrodynamic models first, and develope equipment later.

Zannet was essentially a brought down to reality Zonal. Instead of dual-medium air-water supertorpedo, they tried to develope a torpedo-carrying flying drone-submarine, armed with homing torpedo. The idea was, that Zannet could be delivered by air, make water landing, submerge and been radio-commanded toward the target. Near target, it would delpoy a small homing torpedo from inside. Zannet have small two propellers (one for air, one for water), a low-performance engine (since it was a torpedo-carrier, not a torpedo itself, it did not require high underwater speed) and presumably some kind of acoustic sensors, signals from which were translated back at command ship/plane. More realistic, than Zonal, but still way above the capabilities of late 1940s technology.
 
This might be dates back to even 1944/45 when the Lions final designs appeared, few with pentuple 533mm Torpedo launchers. But I thought those were for long range ASW Homing torpedoes as those Lions lacked Sonars.
 
Campbell mentions that starting in 1943, there were efforts made to modernize the Mark IX torpedo. Its length would be increased to the maximum handleable length, and the charge was to be increased for this.
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Does anyone know more about these proposed modifications with "nitro fuels"?
 
For what it's worth there is a separate thread entitled 'Pentane and Zonal' torpedo's which covers British post-WWII torpedo development. That said the abortive 'Z-Weapons' program (1945-1949) is definitely worthy of a thread of it's own Dilandu's comments earlier in the thread summarize it quite nicely but there were definitely some interesting 'concepts' looked at.

https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/pentane-and-zonal-torpedoes.8127/
 
Dilandu's comments earlier in the thread summarize it quite nicely but there were definitely some interesting 'concepts' looked at
My old article about some of those Z-weapon concepts (on Russian):

 
This has been posted before on another thread but is pertinent here too.
 

Attachments

  • Torpedo Weap Part 3.pdf
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Does anyone know more about these proposed modifications with "nitro fuels"?

Strictly a guess, but I stumbled across a reference to British experiments with nitro-methane in torpedo engines.


Nitro-methane has the potential to be a monopropellant like OTTO fuel but way more sensitive.
 
Tangential: Having warily handled nitro-methane for model aircraft engines --And me a graduate 'organic' chemist !!-- I must 'second' their multiple concerns. I kept my 'few' litres in a draughty, well-ventilated shed well clear of house, as it would have 'voided' our insurance if nearer...
 
Concerning the post-war period, Arthur E. Burke in -Torpedoes and their impact on naval warfare- talks about the effort to develop new torpedoes. p171-172. " During World War II, the British developed the Mark XI, an electric torpedo based on a captured German G7e torpedo. The Mark XI torpedo never went into volume production, but, after the war, when the British started to develop a new ASW homing torpedo, the British selected the electric propulsion system for further development since it was inherently quieter. The performance of torpedo homing systems is degraded by the torpedo's self-noise, so the quiet, but less energetic, electric propulsion system was a logical choice. The first new British homing torpedo developed, initiated in 1950, was the electric-powered Mark 20 torpedo designated as a submarine weapon for ASW missions. The Mark 20 torpedo, developed by the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment (AUWE) in Portland, had passive homing, a speed of 20 knots, and a range of 12,000 yards. While the Mark 20 torpedo was still in development, the Royal Navy staff issued a requirement for an improved Mark 23 torpedo, which was basically a Mark 20 torpedo with a midcourse wire guidance capability added.
The British faced an urgent need for higher-performance ASW torpedoes as nuclear submarines became an operational reality in the late 1950s. The Royal Navy staff issued a requirement in 1959. based on AUWE developmental efforts, for a new weapon concept codenamed "Ongar." This effort provided the technology base for generating a follow-on requirement for a new higher-performance Mark 24 submarine-launched ASW torpedo. The wire-guided Mark 23 torpedo was then redesignated an interim weapon to be used for training the fleet in the use of wire guidance. The Mark 24 torpedo was to be a wire-guided, electric-powered torpedo with an active/passive homing system. A number of problems caused serious delays in the development program, and, in 1969, Parliament directed that the program be transferred from AUWE to industry. The Royal Navy then assigned responsibility for completing the Mark 24 torpedo development to Marconi Space and Electronics Ltd. By 1974, the first Mark 24 production prototypes were going to sea. To stimulate export sales of the weapon, the British renamed the Mark 24 torpedo, calling it the Tigerfish. The British did sell some Tigerfish torpedoes to the Brazilian Navy, but because of the long delays experienced during the development phase, the technology was out of date by the time it entered the fleet. To counter the second-generation nuclear submarine threat, the British faced the need for yet another submarine ASW torpedo.
Right after World War II, the British also addressed the need for new aircraft torpedoes. The Zonal flying torpedo was under development until 1949 when the British decided to cancel the Zonal program and concentrate their resources on the development of a new aircraft-delivered ASW homing torpedo. The Royal Navy issued a staffrequirement in March 1950 for a new lightweight ASW torpedo, 18 inches in diameter by 8 feet long with a weight of 630 pounds. The new Mark 30 torpedo, initially codenamed "Dealer B," was electrically powered, had a passive homing system, and had a 25-knot speed with a 2,500-yard range. The development experienced a number of delays; by the time the Mark 30 was ready for fleet issue; it was approaching obsolescence. The Mark 30's modest performance limited its operational effectiveness; when the nuclear submarine made its appearance, the Mark 30's fate was sealed. The Mark 30 lightweight torpedo program was canceled in 1956, and the British purchased U.S. Navy Mark 43 and Mark 44 torpedoes for use with their new "Match" ASW helicopter. In an effort to reduce their export expenditures, the British decided to build an anglicized version of the U.S. Navy Mark 44 torpedo and designated it the RN Mark 31 torpedo. This joint effort, conducted by the Royal Navy Torpedo Factory and Plessy Ltd, experienced unanticipated delays during the conversion program; by the time the Mark 31 torpedo entered the fleet, it was outperformed by the newer nuclear submarines. As a stopgap measure, the British purchased U.S. Navy Mark 46 torpedoes."
 
The Tigerfish turned out to be a techno-turkey and when HMS Conquerer was on patrol off the Falkland Islands during the Falklands war when it encountered ARA General Belgrano instead of firing its unreliable Tigerfish it fired a spread of three Mk-VIII torpedoes (Two of which struck and sunk the General Belgrano). Which was ironic in that a late 1930s vintage light cruiser was sunk by a 1930s vintage torpedo.
 
In an effort to reduce their export expenditures, the British decided to build an anglicized version of the U.S. Navy Mark 44 torpedo and designated it the RN Mark 31 torpedo. This joint effort, conducted by the Royal Navy Torpedo Factory and Plessy Ltd, experienced unanticipated delays during the conversion program; by the time the Mark 31 torpedo entered the fleet, it was outperformed by the newer nuclear submarines.
Not sure that's entirely correct. An aide memoire on torpedo development (dated 1967) says that the Mk 31 was a stop-gap necessary due to the unreliability of the UK version of the Mk 44. A get-well programme for the latter seems to have resulted in the more reliable UK Mk 44 Mod 1. The Mk 31 had same dimensions as the UK Mk 44 Mod 1 (so I assume developed from it) but had double the acquisition range, was deeper running, had better shallow water performance and a bigger warhead. It was cancelled in 1971 and never entered service. The Mk 46 Mod 2 seems to have been acquired in place of the Mk 31 to bridge the gap until Stingray arrived..
 
Yes, Mk 31 was an improved UK Mk 44, it was indeed a stopgap weapon for NAST.5711 which became Stingray. It did have some technically challenging bits, which gave good performance but ultimately was cancelled due to cost and delays.
British postwar torpedo development was a mess sadly.
 
Yes, Mk 31 was an improved UK Mk 44, it was indeed a stopgap weapon for NAST.5711 which became Stingray. It did have some technically challenging bits, which gave good performance but ultimately was cancelled due to cost and delays.
British postwar torpedo development was a mess sadly.
Still better than US pre-war torpedo development...
 
Now I'm back at my home desk, a couple of snippets on Mk 31.
It began as UK MK 44 Mod.2 in 1965 under NAST.1024 as an interim for NASR.7511 for air-dropping and surface-launch use, would have had improved shallow water capability, optional surface attack mode, speed and endurance along with a new 90lb RDX warhead. In October 1965 the Navy Department of the MoD was given primary project oversight, NAST.1024 became NASR.7709 and the torpedo was redesignated Mk 31. Estimated production start of 2,000 torpedoes was 1970 with estimated R&D cost of £1.125 million. It was planned to use the homing system of the Mk 24 Tigerfish and the electronics and propulsion from the NASR.7527 Deep Mobile Target. Cost increases saw GEC-Marconi brought in as prime contractor but costs still proved problematic and cancellation came in 1971 in favour of pressing ahead with NASR.7511 (which itself took 1964-83 to develop....).
 

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