Rafael’s state-of-the-art underwater weapon systems

By Arie Egozi

In parallel with increasing the Israeli navy's surface capabilities, there is an increased effort to be better ready for underwater warfare. The introduction into service of the new German-made Dolphin AIP submarines is only one part. The other addresses systems that can protect surface ships and submarines from a variety of threats.

Israeli company Rafael is the main source of special underwater systems for modern naval forces. The company is focusing on three capabilities when it deals with the underwater fighting arena – communication between submarines and divers, protection against torpedo attacks and an undetectable sonar.

The company has invested huge sums in the development of systems for the underwater fighting arena. Some are made exclusively for the Israeli navy, others are offered for export. Rafael has exposed some of the systems. It should be mentioned that the systems described here have advanced versions aimed at dealing with developing threats.

When a submarine is submerged it has to communicate with its home base. “Float link” enables the submarine to stay in touch with the navy’s headquarters while “Deep and Silent”

This system enables the submarine to Communicate with HQ or other units, while deep and stealthy “It has other advantages – it does not disclose submarine position and has no maneuverability limitations ”

The FloatLink is ejected from the submarine, using its torpedo launching tubes. It gets to the sea surface. A SATCOM antenna is then unfolded from the floating system and enables the two-way communications

The Israeli company has also developed systems aimed at protecting surface ships from torpedoes.

Modern acoustic torpedoes, with advanced features that greatly enhance their capabilities, are a major threat to surface vessels.

Defeating these threats requires sophisticated, quick-response, and automated countermeasures.

According to Rafael , Lescut is an intelligent, third-generation reactive countermeasure, designed to identify the incoming threat and provide a customized response.

The Lescut is launched from a surface ship and is designed to respond simultaneously to multiple torpedoes of various types – active and passive, and programmed to defeat all types of modern torpedo logic, including range gates, Doppler shift, pulse discrimination, AGC/DVG, and more.

According to Rafael, Lescut requires no pre-launch input or tests, shortening the response time and eliminating errors due to incorrect settings or operator mistakes.

Countermeasure operation starts automatically after launch, with the Lescut suspended to its operating depth. Lescut analyzes the environment and the torpedo and then selects from its threat library the appropriate deception signal for emission. As a result, acoustic torpedoes home in on Lescut as the legitimate target, attacking it repeatedly, enabling the ship to evade a torpedo hit. Lescut operates for ten minutes, then self-destructs and sinks.

In modern maritime combat submarines are exposed to torpedoes launched from ASW helicopters, ships, or other submarines. To counter that threat Rafael has developed the Scutter. Defending from these threats requires a quick response, automated countermeasures.

Rafael is focusing on three capabilities when it deals with the underwater fighting arena - communication between submarines and divers, protection against torpedo attacks, and an undetectable sonar.
Rafael’s Scutter Countermeasure. Image: Rafael.

Scutter is a self-propelled, third-generation reactive, expendable torpedo Countermeasure, capable of protecting a submarine from passive and active acoustic homing torpedoes.

Scutter has a threat library, based on intelligence programmed by the user, which is used to select the appropriate response. Designed to respond simultaneously to multiple torpedoes of various types – active and passive.

Scutter is launched immediately following a torpedo alert, moving automatically to operating depth. It identifies the torpedo, then generates and transmits customized deception signals. The torpedo attacks and re-attacks the Scutter Countermeasure until the torpedo’s end of run. Scutter self-destructs at the end of its mission.

Rafael has also developed what it claims is the first hard-kill torpedo system that can work even in shallow waters. The Torbuster is a fourth-generation torpedo countermeasure for submarines. It provides effective defence against all types of acoustic homing torpedoes by means of the combined soft and hard kill.

The company says that upon detection of an incoming torpedo, the Torbuster will be launched from an external launcher. “The previous such systems played a seduction role in diverting the torpedo from its target. Here we destroy the threat”

Torbuster will propel itself to a safe distance from the submarine and seduce the incoming torpedo by transmitting specific acoustic signals, using a technology based on the Scutter, a reactive acoustic decoy.

As the torpedo homes in on the decoy, the decoy will sense when it is at the closest point of approach and self-explode, inflicting sufficient damage to the torpedo to neutralize it.

Rafael is investing in the development of additional systems for the underwater combat zone, but these are highly classified.


Related news & articles

Latest news