By Paolo Valpolini
Attack systems are definitely among those that might be most easily submitted to embargo, hence the decision to develop national torpedo solutions to arm submarines and surface ships. The first development started long time ago at Roketsan, the initial decision to develop the Akya 533 mm heavyweight torpedo dating back to 2009. The Akya will enter the Turkish Navy inventory during the current year, qualification is ongoing, while the company has already started the series production phase in order to have the system operational by 2022.
The long development time was due to the decision to have a fully Turkish product, hence all subcomponents are provided by national subcontractors, the need to develop the adequate know how having required some time. External guidance is ensured via fibre-optic cable, which is severed once the weapon’s independent guidance provided by an active/passive sonar head with acoustic counter-countermeasure capability is in-range, wake-homing guidance being used when operating against surface targets. Propulsion is ensured by a brushless DC electric motor, power being provided by a high-energy chemical battery, data provided by Roketsan indicating a range of over 50 km and a speed of over 45 knots; at launch the Akya swims out of its tube. Looking at the mock-up the counter-rotating propellers seem to have a different number of blades, eight the forward located propeller and six the rear one. According to company sources, the Akya is fitted with new generation electronics and high processing capabilities, which bring it to the level of benchmark torpedoes of the same category, while an close eye was kept on costs, the Turkish product being defined as a low cost solution. No details were provided on the insensitive warhead, which is fitted with a proximity sensor/impact fuse and explosion.
Leveraging the work done on the Akya, Roketsan launched in 2020 the development of a lightweight 324 mm torpedo named Orka, which is currently in the design phase. According to EDR On-Line sources the development time for this torpedo should be considerably shorter as the company has acquired considerable experience in the design and development of the heavyweight system, the timeline having however not yet been set. Indicative figures call for an over 25 km range and a speed in excess of 45 knots. Meant to be used from above water, by ships, helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft and UAVs, the Orka has a guidance mode based on an active/passive sonar head with acoustic CCM capabilities, and is fitted with a shaped charge insensitive warhead with an impact and explosion fuse, its targets being exclusively submarines. Propulsion is similar to that of its bigger brother, however here we find a lithium battery and ducted counter-rotating propellers.
When both the Ayka and the Orka will become operational, they will gradually replace torpedoes of foreign origin on Turkish Navy assets.
Photos courtesy P. Valpolini