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French submarines to get new torpedoes

A new wire-guided torpedo that can also hone in on a target using an acoustic system has been developed by DCNS and will be deployed in 2016 on French Navy submarines.

By
Richard Tomkins
A French Navy nuclear submarine. (French Navy photo)
A French Navy nuclear submarine. (French Navy photo)

PARIS, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The French military procurement agency, DGA, says a next-generation heavy torpedo will be delivered to the French Navy in 2016.

The F21, developed as part of the government's Artemis weapons program, will be produced by DCNS, which designed the weapon.

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The F21 is 19.6 feet long 21 inches in diameter and has two sets of propellers. It's speed -- due to the use of powerful electric battery -- is more than 50 knots over a distance of 50 nautical miles.

The torpedo is wire-guided, connected to the submarine by an optical fiber that allows information exchange between the submarine and the weapon. The F21 can also operate without wire guidance by using an acoustic homing system that can detect and track targets autonomously.

"The F21 torpedo is the latest heavyweight torpedo in the world, and probably one of the most successful since it integrates the most advanced technologies," said Artemis Program Manager Jean-Marc Daubin.

Since the spring of 2013, we have been testing a prototype in the Mediterranean Sea. To date, we have successfully conducted a dozen firings."

DCNS is to deliver 93 of the torpedoes to the French Navy.

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