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The Type 65-73 is a very large heavyweight nuclear-tipped torpedo of Soviet origin. The Type 65-73 was the first Soviet 650mm torpedo design to enter service. It has many design elements in common with the Type 65-76 torpedo, which is a conventional torpedo with wake homing. The Type 65-73 was intended for use against groups of ships, such as the American carrier battle groups. Furthermore, the Type 65-73 was to destroy harbors of strategic importance.
The Type 65-73 can be considered an up-scaled version of the Type 53-65 design. It uses a turbine engine powered by a fuel mixture that includes high test peroxide. This provides a significant amount of power, but comes at a risk since it is a highly volatile mixture. The warhead section is located in the nose. The fuel and gas turbine make up the center and guidance section is located at the rear.
The Type 65-73 is a non-homing torpedo, but has an extensive inertial navigation system based on gyroscopes. This ensures that the torpedo will detonate at a pre-determined point of impact. The Type 65-73 is often described as a straight running torpedo. However, the it may have the capability to execute pre-determined maneuvers.
The Type 65-73 is fitted with a nuclear warhead. This is reported to have a 20 kT yield, similar to the warhead used in 533mm nuclear-tipped torpedoes. Based on test data the Soviet estimate was that any ship within a 700 m radius would be destroyed. All ships within a 1.4 km radius would be severely damaged. Before the nuclear warhead can be armed action by both the captain and the political officer is required.
Type 65-76 torpedoes were solely used on Soviet/Russian submarines. Due to its size the 650mm torpedoes are only used on large submarines. Several Soviet SSN and SSBN designs since 1972 feature 650mm torpedo tubes, alongside 533mm torpedo tubes.
The Soviet navy was the only user of the Type 65-73 torpedo. After the break-up of the Soviet Union all weapons were transferred to Russia. None remain in service.
The Type 65-76 is an anti-shipping torpedo with conventional warhead and wake homing guidance. The dimensions and propulsion system are similar to the Type 65-73.
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