The Squall is the supercavitating rocket propelled torpedo which is one of the first indications of the revolution which is coming to naval warfare!
Launched from Bars (Akula) and Antyey (Oscar) class submarines, Shkval torpedoes travel at over five times the speed of conventional torpedoes. They are propelled forward by a rocket engine: there are no countermeasures or defenses which can stop the Shkval.
Research on developing a self propelled supercavitational projectile began in the early 1960’s at the Ukrainian Institute of Hydromechanics. It took over a decade for the fundamental problems to be solved, during which time, the sound barrier is believed to have been first broken underwater. The research led to the construction of underwater supercavitating rifles for use by elite Russian Spetznaz troops, and in the mid 1970's to the creation of the world’s first supercavitating torpedo.
First appearing in 1977, the original VA-111 Shkval is some 26 ft (8 m) long and is thought to have a range of around 5 miles (8 km). Believed by some to be unguided, sources differ on whether the torpedo is nuclear capable. The Shkval is propelled forward by a solid rocket motor. Traveling at over 300 mph (500 km/h) the Shkval is so fast that (despite being equipped with one) it does not even require a warhead! Its sheer mass and velocity is enough to sink an opposing submarine.
Development of the Shkval has continued through the 1980’s and 1990’s to the present day. Very little information is available about the Shkval II, the existence of which was made public by the Russian government in 1998. Rumours state a top speed of possibly 450+ mph (720 km/h) and a vastly improved range, believed by some to be in the region of 60+ miles (100 km). The fact that the Shkval II is guided renders it vastly superior to the original Shkval. The Shkval II is thought to be able to supercavitate, then if need be slow down and reacquire its target, before speeding up and homing in for the kill. Yet newer techniques developed by Ukrainian scientists are believed to offer the possibility for high speed supercav guidance and maneuvering.
Thanks to Deep Angel for the use of their Squall information, check out their Squall description to find out more!