The US Navy Is Quietly Arming Its Supercarriers With Anti-Torpedo Torpedoes

The US Navy Is Quietly Arming Its Supercarriers With Anti-Torpedo Torpedoes, by Tyler Rogoway.

The danger posed to Navy surface combatants by submarines is rapidly expanding around the globe. Spurred by leaps in Air Independent Propulsion technologies, even small and relatively inexpensive AIP equipped diesel-electric subs can be as quiet their nuclear counterparts and still stay submerged for weeks at a time. The proliferation of this technology … have made America’s nuclear supercarriers vulnerable to attack despite a multi-layered defensive umbrella. …

Russia’s Type 53 torpedo …possesses a troubling attack profile for American carriers. They can be fired from over a dozen miles away and home in on the wake churned up by a ship. During their terminal attack phase, they ping-pong back and forth across a wake in an ‘S’ pattern until detonating in close proximity to the ship’s fantail. Acoustic decoys have no affect on this type of torpedo, and the bigger the wake, the easier the target is to successfully engage. The Type 53 can be fired by cheap and plentiful Russia Kilo class diesel-electric submarines, which are used by the vast majority of the US Navy’s potential opponents. …

Enter the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) … [which] includes … a towed array acoustic sensor system … that … detects an incoming torpedo. This sensor is trailed off a carrier’s fantail, so it’s particularly well suited for detecting incoming wake-homing torpedoes. [And of course] the Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo (CAT).

Surface Ship Torpedo Defense: Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo (CAT).

A miniature torpedo in its own right, CAT provides a rapidly deployable kinetic “hard kill” solution to use against torpedo threats. In other words, it can be launched in an instant, then it homes in on the enemy torpedo and destroys it through proximity detonation and/or collision. In simpler terms it is a torpedo interceptor. …

It may sound like a concept, but this system is already deployed and operating; the Navy has quietly fielded it on half of America’s supercarriers.

CAT being launched from a supercarrier.

CAT being launched from a supercarrier.