Submarines: March 1, 2005

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Cuba, despite its failing economy, and the general impoverishment of its population, spends a lot of money on some things. Stuff like training doctors, genetic research and building torpedoes. This last one is kept pretty secret, but something along those lines is going on at the Cabanes Naval Base. What kind of torpedo? Modern torpedoes, like the American Mk 48, are not only very complex, but require extensive industrial infrastructure to build. But what if Cuba simply modified old Soviet torpedoes, like those it received with its Soviet torpedo craft, or bought on the black market. Lets say they built a truck mounted launcher, and fitted the torpedo with a wake homing guidance system for the warhead. Adding more range, plus the wake homing capability, produces the a weapon with the ability to do some terrorism via torpedo. At night, how's the passing ship even going to detect the wake homer, unless someone in the warships offshore are paying close attention to their passive sonar. The U.S. Navy has equipped ships to defend against cruise missiles, but never came up with anything as effective against wake homing torpedoes. These weapons, first developed by the Germans during World War II, were further refined by the Russians until the present. As their name implies, the torpedo homes on its target by detecting the wave motions made by a ships wake. The Cubans could add length (and more fuel) to a conventional torpedo, giving it a range of 50-100 kilometers. Launching instructions would direct the crew to estimate the speed of passing ships, use an off the shelf GPS device to calculate coordinates the torpedo should head for in order to pick up a wake, enter that data into the torpedo, then launch the torpedo (from a container rolled off a truck that was backed into the surf) and drive away. Within an hour, a passing ship takes a torpedo in the stern. This would badly damage a carrier, or sink smaller ships. The Cubans are probably not including an serial numbers for components going into their torpedoes. 

 


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