View Full Version : Austrailian Torpedo test on a destroyer

07-14-2007, 02:27 AM
Not sure if the destroyer has been weakened in any way. But this shows what the crew of a modern destroyer can expect if hit by a torpedo.


I am pretty sure that her keel is broken immediatley, there must be a 2-3 meter rise in the middle, and watch the funnel from the rear view, a jet of black smoke some 20m high shoots out of it!!!

Bearing inmind that modern ships rely on countermeasures to avoid damage rather than actually being hit and soaking up the damage, as did WW2 ships.



Rising Sun*
07-14-2007, 04:11 AM
Maybe not as impressive as the video suggests.

It's been claimed the RAN packed the old HMAS Torrens with explosives and detonated them independently after the torpedo hit. The Navy explanation is that it's a double banger hit with the torpedo, as explained in the bold final paragraph in the quote. (The original formatting got lost in copying. Sorry.)

The background is that our Collins class subs had big problems, notably with a noise problem that made them easily detectable. The Navy copped a lot of flak over them. This torpedo exercise looks like a put up job to make out that the Collins subs could do something useful if we got into a war, like torpedoing a stationary unmanned ship.

Such demonstrations make the civilians sleep easier at night.

Navy proves new subs can fire old torpedoes at old ships

With all of Australia’s submarines now based in WA there has been something of an itch amongst the ranks to have some
live torpedo practice. It had been more than ten years since the last
one. Trouble is the things cost so much ($1million +) that it
becomes like trying to decide whether or not to open a bottle of
Penfold’s Grange and drink it. The navy finally took the plunge on
14 June when it allowed HMAS Farncombe to “secretly” put a wire
controlled Mk48 fish “from over the horizon” into its
decommissioned warship Torrens in deep water near the edge of the
continental shelf off Fremantle. Out of control media representatives
were not allowed to witness the controlled event, which suggested the
navy was a little nervous about whether or not things would go
according to plan. What if the torpedo missed? What if the ship
didn’t sink? What if the system software crashed? The cartoonists
would have a field day.
Well as it happened old number 53 was suitably knocked about
with a mighty thump under the starboard side that ripped it in half.
The stern sank first but the bow lingered in a dirty oil slick for a couple
of hours, as if in stunned disbelief at what had been done to it by those whom it had served so well, then it too ultimately
plunged to the bottom for the benefit of the PR department’s cameras, giving navy spokesperson Cdr Dudfield the ammunition
to say on ABC radio and other media that the test proved that Collins subs could perform as required and that everything was
on track to achieve the navy’s requirements. Maybe, but someone also let slip the refreshing news that there was a significant
degree of human brainpower used in calculations for the firing, so as to test that capability could be maintained independent of
HMAS Torrens dockside, next to HMAS Swan
Hal the computer. Humans rule OK!
Nevertheless, the skeptics said it is one thing to sink a sitting duck, quite another to engage and destroy a fast, modern and
hostile warship full of alert persons and state-of-the-art equipment. Furthermore the event came in anticipation of damning
findings in an independent report on the Collins programme being compiled by CSIRO boffin Malcolm Macintosh.
Originally the sinking had been proposed for earlier in the year. Surprisingly, Macintosh allowed himself to be interviewed by
the media during the furore.
As a PR exercise the secret sinking was predictably unpopular on the local front. Rockingham City Council, local
businesses and their political voice, MLA Mark McGowan have long been after Torrens for use as a dive ship in shallower
water. Based upon the outstanding success of the HMAS Swan dive-wreck at Busselton they conservatively projected that the
2,750 ton Torrens could have generated at least 20 new jobs and injected $2.3 million dollars a year into the local economy.
Mr McGowan, a former navy officer, said on ABC News Radio (15/6/99 12.30pm) that such tests proved little. He said that
there have been numerous statements from officers within the navy that the Collins problems would be solved this year, and if
they weren’t he expected a swag of resignations from those officers which made this claim, “because that would be the only
honourable thing to do.”
He added that the navy should set up an exercise with 2 or 3 Collins subs against the remaining Oberon to prove there had
been a substantial technical improvement. Later on the same day Federal Senator David McGibbon, another former navy man
also criticised the unrealistic nature of the test.
As the PR exercise started to spiral out of control the navy became more defensive. Capt Ric Shalders, Commander
Australian Submarines came up on ABC News Radio (15/6/99 1.30pm) and said the combat system was now proved without
doubt with the sinking of Torrens. He added that HMAS Farncombe had successfully fired more that 30 other weapons in
the previous two weeks. On the 7.30 Report that night he said, “They are ready to go to war if that had to be.”
Commodore Mick Dunn (ret) thought the test had been used to overshadow the more serious problems. He said, “What's
happening now is the navy has gone into denial, saying that there isn't a problem with the noise signature, and we know there
is with the whole shape and with the propeller. Those things have got to be put right. Everybody in the navy knows there's a
major problem with the combat system.” Dunn had been the senior submariner in the navy until last year. On evening TV
news programs of the 17th June he again appeared and suggested that the Torrens had been sunk by two blasts, the second
perhaps being from explosives placed on board the ship as insurance by the navy and triggered almost, but not quite
simultaneously with the torpedo detonation. The allegation was immediately denied by the navy, but the reruns of the
excellent footage provided by them to the media do appear to show two distinct blasts, each of a different colour and with
debris seemingly going in different directions. The two blasts can be seen on the sonogram accompanying the next article.
One would have like to have been a fly on the wall in some Navy offices as these matters unfolded so awkwardly, but for
the Navy there eventually was a happy conclusion. Rear Admiral Ritchie, Deputy Chief of the Navy wrote a letter to the
Australian (22/6/99:12) saying that while the TV images did show two blasts this was the normal occurrence. The Mk48
torpedo is designed to explode beneath the target, not against it. The first event registered was the arrival of a shock wave at
the speed of sound. This acted as intended by lifting the ship at the centre and overstressing the keel and hull. The second
event was the arrival of the expanding and very large bubble of gas from the warhead explosion. This also drags a large mass
of water and the combined inertial effect is that the target gets a very destructive follow-up pounding. Two hits for the price of
one if you like. http://www.aamh.asn.au/news/0076.pdf

07-14-2007, 10:39 AM
It does look like a sympathetic explosion, but I just figured it was part of explosion, ie some of it gets out quicker than the rest.

from the wiki.

HMAS Torrens (DE 53) was a River class destroyer escort laid down by the Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company Propriety Limited at Sydney in New South Wales on 18 August 1965, launched on 28 September 1968 by Dame Zara Holt, DBE, and commissioned on 19 January 1971.

HMAS Torrens paid off in 1998 and was sunk as a target by the submarine HMAS Farncomb off Western Australia on 14 June 1999. Digitally edited film of the torpedo hitting the hulk of HMAS Torrens was used in the movie Pearl Harbor, and one of the photos was used as Hezbollah propaganda.


Note the superstructure ripped away.

In all fairness, I think she would have been ripped apart anyway. The first explosion has to be a submarine weapon, not in the ship, and that picks her up a good in the middle few meters higher than the stem and stern.

Targets are usually rigged to dive anyway. The watertight doors are not usually closed, in order to prevent the ship staying up!!!!!

Strangly enough, the reverse was said about he Bradley live fire testing in America. When the vehicles were attacked it was claimed that the vehicles and "crew" were dampened and that parts that may catch fire were in some way retarded.

Rising Sun*
07-15-2007, 04:57 AM
If that's what a modern torpedo can do with a strike under the hull, I doubt there's a ship been built that could withstand it. Even something like the Yamato or Musashi would probably have enough damage done that they'd sink.

Frightening power.