An acoustic countermeasure to supercavitating torpedoes
Cameron, Peter J. K.
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Supercavitating torpedoes pose new threats to submarines, surface ships, and shore targets whose current countermeasures are inadequate against this technology. These torpedoes have the advantage over their predecessors and companion weapons of dramatically increased speed, which reduces the reaction time available for deploying a countermeasure heightening the threat to their intended target. Proliferation of supercavitating torpedoes has motivated research on countermeasures against them as well as on the fluid phenomenon which makes them possible. The goal of this research was to investigate an envisaged countermeasure; an acoustic field capable of slowing or diverting the weapon by disrupting the cavitation envelope. The research focused on the interactions between high-level sound signals and a supercavity produced by a small free-flying projectile. In order to conduct this study it was necessary to achieve three preliminary accomplishments involving the design of: 1) experimental apparatus that allowed for the study of a small-scale supercavitating projectile in the laboratory environment; 2) apparatus and software for measuring and recording information about projectile dynamics and supercavity geometry; and 3) an acoustic array and power source capable of focusing the desired sound signal in the path of the supercavitating object. Positive results have been found which show that the accuracy of a supercavitating projectile can indeed be adversely affected by the sound signal. This research concludes with results that indicate that it is acoustic cavitation in the medium surrounding the supercavity that is responsible for the reduced accuracy. A hypothesis has been presented addressing the means by which the acoustic cavitation could cause this effect. Additionally, corrugations on the cavity/water interface imposed by the pressure signal have been observed and characterized.