Spies, Lies and Secret Weapons (2001)

CBC - The Fifth Estate

Maximum speed of 60 to 80 km/h! Whether submarine or torpedo - it is not possible to go faster under water according to the established rules of physics. Friction and turbulence prevent higher speeds in such a "dense" medium. In addition, a well-known problem that submarine engineers have been fighting with for centuries emerges, because it can destroy any normal ship's propeller at too high a rotational speed: cavitation - a rare phenomenon that the Russian Marines and the US Navy now want to use for firing underwater and maybe even high-speed submarines. During the hot phase of the Cold War in the 60s, using the motto "If you can't prevent it, use it," the Russian scientist Mikhail Merkulov came upon the bold idea of artificially generating such a cavitation bubble, which is so big that a torpedo has space inside, where it is protected and virtually free from friction and turbulence, to reach speeds beyond those that had up till then been possible.
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Date Added: 12 years ago.

Documentary Description

It was a fearsome weapon, part missile, and part torpedo. Fired from a submarine, the drag-resistant (super-cavitation) technology made it possible for the Shkval to slice through the water at 200mph. The Russians had developed it and the Americans were determined to get it. But doing so would be highly complicated. Would they rely on arms dealers and middlemen? Could it be obtained through one of the former Soviet Republics? Would it take a spy to find out the real secrets of the Shkval? In the end an unassuming Canadian finally sealed the deal, but there were many twists along the road to obtaining the super missile.

Click here for the chronology and links to the secret documents obtained by the fifth estate.

Source: CBC


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