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Navy says new ‘smart’ torpedo set for deployment

Secretive new underwater missile system is ‘digital,’ boasts electronic warfare capabilities, greater range and precision, and even the ability to hamper enemy detection

The Israeli Navy announced on Tuesday that an advanced new torpedo system had successfully passed its final operational test and was now slated to become the latest weapon in the nation’s underwater arsenal.

The new torpedo is part of the military’s efforts in recent years to ensure naval superiority in the eastern Mediterranean, especially in light of the large natural gas reserves recently discovered in Israel’s economic waters.

The torpedo, a “major advance” according to the navy statement, finished its last live-fire test on Monday after it was “fired at targets that simulate enemy vessels.” The latest trial is one of many conducted by the navy in recent months.

It will now be installed in Israel’s submarines, increasing the precision and range of their combat abilities in any future engagement with enemy naval forces.

A June 19, 2018 photo of sailors aboard an Israeli Navy submarine during a live-fire trial of a new torpedo system. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The new torpedo is “digital,” as opposed to the navy’s existing “analog” underwater missiles, a navy officer told journalists in a briefing Tuesday. It has electronic warfare capabilities and is able to avoid some enemy navies’ detection methods, while its computerized smarts lend it greater precision and make it easier to integrate into the complex modern battlefield. It is expected to “expand the IDF’s operational options,” the officer said.

A June 19, 2018 photo of Captain Asaf, commander of Israel’s submarine flotilla, standing next to an Israeli Navy submarine being outfitted with a new torpedo system. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Israel’s five-boat submarine fleet is the navy’s long-distance intelligence-gathering and strike force. Its ordnance is secret, as are the identities of its officers and enlisted troops. It is believed by foreign media and intelligence sources to possess the ability to launch nuclear-armed missiles Israel is purported to possess.

A June 19, 2018 photo of an Israeli Navy submarine officer during a live-fire trial of a new torpedo system. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

The navy would not comment on the source and precise model of the new torpedo, but said Israel’s navy is the only one deploying the system that has the ability to maintain it domestically.

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