Back in February I reported on Israel’s new Seagull unmanned naval patrol vessel. It’s now been tested firing a small anti-submarine homing torpedo.
You can read more about it here.
This is an important development. Sure, such torpedoes are small, with limited range, depth capability, etc.; but the Seagull is designed to patrol littoral waters, along a country’s coastline and not too far out to sea, where the water usually isn’t very deep and submarines are limited in their ability to maneuver (or escape) by the proximity of the bottom and the coastline. Such torpedoes are a huge threat in such an environment. If you can blanket littoral areas with underwater sensors and low-cost, relatively capable unmanned vehicles like the Seagull, they effectively become no-go areas for submarines. If they penetrate it, they’re going to die there.
I think Israel’s onto something very interesting here. I know there are similar developments in other nations, but this is highly likely to be used operationally before any others. After all, Israel’s developing offshore gas fields, and a fleet of Seagulls armed with short-range missiles (to take out terrorist-manned boats trying to attack the production platforms) and/or torpedoes like these (to take out ‘swimmer delivery vehicles‘ doing the same thing, or even small submarines [which Iran manufactures and might supply to its terrorist clients, Hezbollah or Hamas]) would offer a potent protective force for them.