Atlas Elektronik, a subsidiary of the German corporation ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, introduced the SeaSpider anti-torpedo ("Sea Spider"). It is designed to intercept attacking enemy torpedoes.
Modern torpedo armament of surface ships and submarines is becoming more and more sophisticated and intelligent. Heavy torpedoes differ not only in size, but also in the type of propulsion systems, sensor configuration, and guidance methods. In recent years, torpedoes have set new records for firing range and speed in water. Digital homing sonars provide a high ability to detect and locate targets, and are resistant to interference.
Whether business there were times when from a meeting with a torpedo it was possible to evade by means of maneuver. The main thing was to notice the torpedo in time. Today, the maneuver no longer saves. Torpedoes taught to literally chase the victim. Even if it was not possible to hit the target during the first approach, the torpedo will turn around and make a new attempt. It is difficult to resist such perseverance and purposefulness.
Even jamming no longer guarantees safety. “Decoys are becoming more and more ineffective against torpedoes that can turn around and attack the ship again,” says Johannes Peters, a naval analyst at the University of Kiel (Germany). - Torpedoes are no longer simple impact fuse weapons. Many explode under the ship, throw them up and thus break the hull.
Therefore, at the beginning of the century, Atlas Elektronik thought about creating a torpedo interceptor, if it was becoming increasingly difficult to deceive them, and even more so to run away from them. This is how the anti-torpedo Sea Spider appeared, the first tests of which were carried out in the Baltic Sea in 2019. Two torpedoes were put up as opponents, using different guidance principles in their work. The Spider intercepted them.
In the same year, the Canadian branch of Atlas Elektronik agreed with the local Magellan Aerospace Corporation on cooperation. Canadians took up the design and development of a new underwater rocket engine, as well as a torpedo warhead. But work on a joint program worth 19 million Canadian dollars began only in January of this year, and should be completed next year.
The current version of the Sea Spider is a standard cigar-shaped apparatus about two meters long and 21 centimeters in diameter.
The body is divided into four compartments: rear (information about it is strictly classified), where the nozzle and rudders are located; solid propellant jet engine, warhead block and guidance compartment. It housed a homing system built on the basis of a sonar, an inertial measuring unit and a high-performance computer.
The overpressure created in the combustion chamber is converted into thrust in the rear compartment due to the release of gases through the nozzle. The speed of the anti-torpedo is classified.
Digital sonar operates in passive and active modes, listening and probing the depths of the sea. The computer analyzes the received signals, eliminates the interference created by waves and ships, calculates the position of the attacking torpedo, calculating the interception point. The German designers tried to build the work of the anti-torpedo in such a way, according to them, that it did not depend on the methods of guiding the attacking torpedoes and the propulsion systems used on them.
Detection frequencies are not disclosed. The company's promotional materials only say that "the frequencies in which the active homing head operates were chosen in such a way as to optimally detect torpedoes guided by the wave wake of the ship and filter out interference from other objects." In general, the company is trying to convince that the Sea Spider is practically omnivorous.
The anti-torpedo is placed in a container, which serves both for transportation and for its launch, which allows it to be in constant combat readiness. Currently, the company is developing a launch pallet containing several containers with torpedoes. This will significantly increase the defense capability of the ships.
The system works as follows. The ship's sonar listens to the depths of the sea. All sounds and parameters of water vibrations are transmitted to the onboard station, where they are analyzed, and when signals characteristic of torpedoes appear, the corresponding data is sent to the anti-torpedo computer. Seconds pass from fixing the signals to launching the Sea Spider. Further, the Sea Spider computer clarifies the changing position of the torpedo and goes to intercept.
The surface version of the Sea Spider is proposed to be installed on board frigates, as well as corvettes and offshore patrol vessels. It is planned to start production of a version for installation on surface ships in 2025, and a version for submarines will appear in a few years.