|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Used by||Russian Navy and Iranian Navy|
|Designer||NII-24 research institute|
|Manufacturer||Tactical Missiles Corporation|
|Variants||Shkval 2, Shkval-E|
|Mass||2,700 kg (6,000 lb)|
|Length||8,200 mm (26 ft 11 in)|
|Diameter||533 mm (21 in)|
|Effective firing range||Shkval: 7 km (4.3 mi)|
Shkval 2: From 11–15 km (6.8–9.3 mi)
|Warhead||Conventional explosive or nuclear|
|Warhead weight||210 kg (460 lb)|
|Maximum speed||Launch speed: 50 knots (93 km/h; 58 mph)|
Maximum speed: in excess of 200 knots (370 km/h; 230 mph)
|GOLIS autonomous inertial guidance|
|533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes|
The VA-111 Shkval (from Russian: шквал, squall) torpedo and its descendants are supercavitating torpedoes originally developed by the Soviet Union. They are capable of speeds in excess of 200 knots (370 km/h or 230 miles/h).
Design began in the 1960s when the NII-24 research institute was ordered to produce a new weapon capable of engaging nuclear submarines. The merger of the institute and GSKB-47 created the Research Institute of Applied Hydromechanics, who continued with the design and production of the Shkval.
Previously operational as early as 1977, the torpedo was announced as being deployed in the 1990s. The Shkval is intended as a countermeasure against torpedoes launched by undetected enemy submarines.
The VA-111 is launched from 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes at 50 kn (93 km/h; 58 mph). A solid-fuel rocket accelerates it to cavitation speed, with a combined-cycle gas turbine in the nose creating the required gas bubble. Once accelerated, speed is maintained by an underwater ramjet fueled by hydroreactive metals using seawater as both reactant and the source of oxidizer; the torpedo travels at around 200 kn (370 km/h; 230 mph). Published information about this type of hydro-ramjet shows a dedicated steam circuit for the supercavitation generating head.
The high speed is made possible by supercavitation, whereby a gas bubble surrounding the torpedo is created by outward deflection of water by its specially-shaped nose cone and the expansion of gases from its engine and the gas generator in the nose. This minimizes water contact with the torpedo, significantly reducing drag.
Early designs may have relied solely on an inertial guidance system. The initial design was intended for nuclear warhead delivery. Later designs reportedly include terminal guidance and conventional warheads.
The torpedo steers using four fins that skim the inner surface of the supercavitation gas bubble. To change direction, the fin(s) on the inside of the desired turn are extended, and the opposing fins are retracted.
In 2016, KTVR was upgrading Shkval.
The torpedo is manufactured in Kyrgyzstan by a state-owned factory. In 2012 the Russian government asked for a 75% ownership of the factory in exchange for writing off massive Kyrgyz debt to Russia.
In 2000, former U.S. Naval intelligence officer and an alleged Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) spy Edmond Pope (Captain, USN, retired) was held, tried, and convicted in Russia of espionage related to information he obtained about the Shkval weapon system. Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned Pope in December 2000 on humanitarian grounds because he had bone cancer.
There are at least three variants:
All current versions are believed to be fitted only with conventional explosive warheads, although the original design used a nuclear warhead.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to VA-111 Shkval.|