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Type 53-65


Type 53-65K torpedo

A Soviet/Russian Type 53-65K torpedo on public display in Russia in 2015.
Source: Vitaly V. Kuzmin - © CC BY-SA 4.0

Soviet Union
Heavyweight torpedo
Entered service
1965 for Type 53-65
1969 for Type 53-65K & M
In service
Early 1960's
Soviet Union - NII-400 Morteplotekhnika
Type 53-65 and 53-65M
Soviet Union - SKB Mashzavod (Kirov plant design bureau)
Type 53-65K
Mid 1960's - present
Soviet Union - No. 171 Kirov plant in Alma-Ata
Number produced
Produced in large numbers
Izdeliye 266 (article index for 53-65M)
Izdeliye 243 (article index for 53-65K)
Notable users
Soviet Union



The Type 53-65 is a Cold War era heavyweight torpedo of Soviet origin. It was developed as a highly capable anti-surface vessel torpedo to be launched from both submarines and surface vessels. This torpedo replaced the earlier Type 53-56 and various other types as the main Soviet anti-shipping torpedo.


The Type 53-65 torpedo has a conventional layout. The warhead and guidance section are located at the front. The fuel and turbine engine are located at the rear. The torpedo is propelled by two contra-rotating propellers and steered by four control surfaces at the rear. The original and updated model use a powerful and difficult to handle kerosene-hydrogen peroxide fuel. The Type 53-65K variant uses a slightly less performant, but much safer, kerosene-oxygen fuel.


The Type 53-65 is an acoustic wake homing torpedo. The acoustic sensor searches for a vessel's wake on the pre-programmed course and locates the target vessel using a zig-zag pattern towards the origin of the wake. The Type 53-65 is a fire and forget weapon, once the target parameters are set and the torpedo launched it operates fully independent. The downside is that it lacks any mid course updates and it cannot distinguish friend from foe. The upside is that this allows for the launch vessel to engage in aggressive maneuvers after launch, which cannot be done with wire guided torpedoes.


The Type 53-65 has a 307 kg high explosive warhead which should be adequate to sink or severely damage major surface vessels. The original Type 53-65 has an 18 km range at 45 knots. For the Type 53-65M this is increased to 22 km. These two versions also have a high speed setting of about 70 knots with a much reduced range. The most common version is the Type 53-65K which has a 19 km range at 45 knots.


The Type 53-65 can be launched from both submarines and surface vessels. The rudimentary target input requirements makes the Type 53-65 compatible with a wide range of launch platforms. In Soviet service both attack submarines and ballistic missile submarines were equipped with this torpedo. Many late model motor torpedo boats and major surface vessels (frigates, destroyers, cruisers) were equipped as well.


The Type 53-65 was adopted in very large numbers by the Soviet navy, which used both the high performance kerosene-hydrogen peroxide models and the kerosene-oxygen variant. The Type 53-65K was also exported to many Soviet allies and is one of the most common post-WW2 types of heavyweight torpedo. The Type 53-65 is also one of the very few types of torpedo introduced before 1970 to be in active service with many nations today.


Type 53-65 torpedo

Rear view of a Type 53-65 torpedo on public display.
Source: Vladimir Bruman - © CC BY-SA 3.0

Type 53-65
First production model, introduced in 1965 and fully operational in 1968. This variant has uses a kerosene-hydrogen peroxide fuel. While this creates a tremendous amount of energy, this is very difficult to handle properly in a marine environment.
Type 53-65M
Improved model with increased reliability and longer range, introduced in 1969. Developed at the same time as the Type 53-65K. As a minor update to the previous model this design project was deemed less risky than the 53-65K, although it is far more complicated to handle in service.
Type 53-65A
Also known as SST-2 and Izdeliye 234. Variant of the Type 53-65M with automated target input for use on highly automated Project 705 Lira submarines.
Type 53-65K
Updated model with kerosene-oxygen fuel instead of kerosene-hydrogen peroxide. This fuel is much safer and easier to handle, yet results in lower range. Introduced in 1969 and quickly became the most common production model. Production was halted in 1970 and restarted with updates in 1972 due to safety incidents in the early production run.
Type 53-65KE
Export variant of the Type 53-65K, introduced in 1984. The earlier variant were never intended for export sales due to the complexity and hazards associated with their fuel.
Type 53-65K mod
Refurbished (and possibly updated) version of the Type 53-65K. Introduced in 2011 for Russian and Indian service.


Facts Type 53-65 Type 53-65M Type 53-65K
Soviet Union
Heavyweight torpedo
Launch platform
Submarines, surface vessels
Target platform
Surface vessels
533 mm
7.95 m
2.100 kg
307 kg high explosive
Magnetic proximity fuse
Active acoustic wake homing
185 m detection range
Wire guidance
Engine type
2DT turbine engine with two combustion chambers
Power source
Kerosene-hydrogen peroxide
1.070 kW at high setting
Twin contra-rotating propellers
68.5 knots at high setting
45 knots at low setting
18 to 22 km at 45 knots
12 km at 68.5 knots
4 to 14 m running depth
Up to 100 m launch depth


Launch platforms

Note: incomplete list

Project 877 Paltus class

Soviet diesel-electric attack submarine with 4x 533mm torpedo tube.

Project 636 Varshavyanka class

Soviet/Russian diesel-electric attack submarine with 4x 533mm torpedo tube.

Project 206M Shtorm class

Soviet motor torpedo boat with four single OTA-53-206M torpedo tubes. Can launch Type 53-65K against surface targets.

Rajput class

Indian class of destroyer with 1x5 PTA-53-61 torpedo tube for SET-65E and 53-65KE torpedoes.

Project 1155 Fregat class

Soviet anti-submarine warfare destroyer. Fitted with two quad PTA-53-1155 torpedo tubes. Used with SET-65 and 53-65K torpedoes.

Project 1155.1 Fregat-M class

Soviet anti-submarine warfare destroyer. Fitted with two quad PTA-53-1155 torpedo tubes. Used with URPK-6 Vodopad, SET-65 and 53-65K torpedoes.

Delhi class

Indian class of destroyer with 1x5 PTA-53 torpedo tube for 533mm SET-65E and Type 53-65KE torpedoes.

Project 1134 Berkut class

Soviet class of cruisers with 2x5 PTA-53-1134 torpedo tubes used with Type 53-65, Type 53-65K and SET-65 torpedoes.