Tuesday, February 27, 2024

China, too, would develop a nuclear-powered torpedo

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The upcoming arrival of the strategic pair formed by the nuclear missile submarine Belgorod, a variation of the Antey class, and the nuclear-powered strategic drone torpedo Poseidon, within the Russian Navy, has caused much ink to flow. in recent weeks in the West, even if the effective strategic contribution of this pair capable of eliminating a large coastal city with its 2 megaton head, is more than questionable . However, the principle seems to have inspired Chinese engineers, who in turn have just announced the design of a torpedo equipped with a miniaturized nuclear reactor. On the other hand, the operational concept targeted by the Chinese Navy differs greatly from that of the Poseidon, making it both much more suitable for military use, and much less expensive to produce.

South China Morning Post site based in Hong Kong, indeed echoed an article published by the scientific director of the Chinese Institute of Atomic Energy Guo Jian in the Journal of Autonomous Underwater Systems. sailors, a professional publication of the China Shipbuilding Industries Corporation. The Chinese scientist details the design of a tactical torpedo equipped with a miniaturized nuclear reactor, allowing it to maintain a speed of 30 knots for 200 hours. The torpedo, sufficiently miniaturized to be used from the torpedo tubes of Chinese nuclear attack submarines, would eject its nuclear core once the target has been identified, and engage it using its electric batteries, like a traditional torpedo, without the risk of nuclear contamination, especially since the weapon would only use conventional military charges, and not a nuclear warhead.

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Belgorod Antei Defense Analysis | Military Drones and Robotics | Nuclear energy
The Belgorod is today the largest submarine in service in the world, with a displacement of 30,000 tons when submerged, in order to implement up to 6 Poseidon nuclear torpedoes.

The Chinese model, and its concept of use, therefore differ radically from those of the Poseidon torpedo, which can only be used in the context of a total nuclear war for which it would bring little added value. , and which requires a specially modified submarine to be deployed. The Chinese torpedo is in fact a purely conventional and tactical weapon, allowing for example to engage naval forces at very long distances with an autonomy of 6,000 nautical miles, enough to strike ships docked at Pearl Harbor from the China Sea, or to patrol naval zones like a MALE drone or a wandering munition. It therefore responds to the immediate constraints of the Chinese Navy, which only has 6 modern Type 093 nuclear attack submarines capable of oceanic engagement, but which fields more than forty conventionally powered Type 039 submarines. designed to operate in relative proximity to the Chinese coast and their home port.


LOGO meta defense 70 Analyzes Defense | Military Drones and Robotics | Nuclear energy

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolfhttps://meta-defense.fr/fabrice-wolf/
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the Meta-defense.fr site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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