Shkval — correction!

Brought to my notice and it caused a shudder when I realized a mistake that shouldn’t have been made — deadline pressure, no excuses, I apologize — but the Russian Shkval weapon mentioned in the previous post (first published in ‘The Citizen’) is a torpedo, of course. A unique torpedo that I have mentioned in writings going back awhile, Shkval is able to attain extraordinary underwater speeds (what to speak of the variant promised India that will be out-of-water and reach hypersonic velocity in getting to the target) because it travels in an air bubble meeting no water resistance whatsoever. In fact, this technology only with, and perfected, by Russia is motivating Russian-trained Chinese submarine designers in their efforts to design a submarine able to ride a similar vacuum bubble. What China sets it mind on getting military technology and hardware-wise, it gets. That’s another headache down the road for India to deal with.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in arms exports, China, China military, Indian Navy, Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Shkval — correction!

  1. &^%$#@! says:

    I for one do not believe that the Russians gave the Chines the technology to build a submarine using the principles of the Shkval, assuming that they (the Russians) have developed such a technology in the first place. I have reasonably good knowledge of both systems on which I make this assertion. It is rumored that China has procured the Shkval. OTOH, there are far more credible reports that hint that so has the IN. In fact, Iran’s Hoot torpedo is either a reverse engineered Shkval, or the real McCoy itself. There’s a huge difference between the Shkval and a submarine using the principles of supercavitation. First is the size. Next is the nature of the directed exhaust which in conjunction with its uniquely designed nose allows the Shkval to attain its incredible performance.

    There are some stories in tabloids of an ultra-fast Chinese submarine. But that can be taken with a “pinch of salt”. OTOH, one cannot discount the fact that the Chinese have great Centres of Excellence in Naval Design (the Shanghai Jia Tong University being just one among many). OTOH, the Indian academic system is pathetic! The students lack even the most basic mathematical skills one can expect from a Bachelors degree holder in Engineering and the hard sciences. They are lazy and dishonest workers, who prefer taking a few Coursera courses and calling themselves “data scientists”, and getting a large pay packet somewhere.

    If they are sacked, the market is so large, they will be back in business very fast (in fact, in a matter of days). From my observations, Chinese students in the hard sciences and engineering seek a career. Many of them keep studying and never stop even 25 years after their Ph.D.’s. OTOH Indians treat science and engineering as a job and not a career. They cannot be corrected because it hurts their “tender” feelings, and they need to be complimented and paid for their incompetence and laziness. Those few that hack it out in the West doing pure science and engineering are exceptions to the rule. The Nadela’s, etc.. who are held up as stellar examples of Indian scientific “brilliance” are merely managers.

    • Could absence of inspiring and motivational teachers at all levels also be a reason?

      • &^%$#@! says:

        I have noticed a few things that stand out. First, Chinese have a sense of National ethos that is built around hard work. Indians have no such thing. Next, Chinese are meticulous in their documentation. OTOH, Indians are tardy at documentation, and at the very most put down even scientific and engineering details in some haphazard power point like manner (which is passed off as meticulous documentation). I’ve seen many Indian projects fail because the person who did it left and the documentation he/she left was either non existent or so tardy that large amounts of money were spent redoing the same task. Finally, a group meeting among Indians turns out to resemble a fish market squabble. Different people talking incoherently at the same time. I have rarely seen this behavior among Chinese.

      • Punjabi Sardar says:

        Just another casualty of secularism ie public self hate for being Hindu.

  2. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Re. – “hypersonic velocity in getting to the target) because it travels in an air bubble.”

    Sorry @BK but this needs to be flagged.

    There are benefits of this and similar technologies. May be even for submarines. May be even in ways that are not currently expressed in literature.

    But hypersonic velocity while travelling inside an air bubble is fantasy. The best till date is nowhere near this. Skin drag is not the only headache for a projectile inside a fluid.

    I have read the post more than once to make sure I don’t end up attacking a sentence that is not wrong but the one that I have flagged is just not right.

    • @Mongrelji — Please read the full sentence from the post again — “Shkval is able to attain extraordinary underwater speeds (what to speak of the variant promised India that will be out-of-water and reach hypersonic velocity in getting to the target) because it travels in an air bubble meeting no water resistance whatsoever.” Sorry for a convoluted sentence construction. But hypersonic applies once Shkval breaks water surface for its terminal run to target, and the air bubble medium is for underwater passage at speeds in excess of 200 knots (did someone say, 280-300 knots?).

      • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

        Thanks for the effort, now it makes sense.

        Yes it is lucrative and most likely we will never get it from western countries, at least not without, paying with our heart and liver, in exchange.

        Further considering the lousy %age of defense budget we spend on R&D (which is about half of what China was spending in 2002), we will also not be able to make something like this, without compromising on other running projects.

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