Cold War Tech: Soviet Torpedo Trawlers

Thought I’d give you some secret Soviet Cold War tech for this Friday morning. The ship above looks like an innocent little ex-Soviet fishing trawler. You know, the innocent trawlers that were always fishing within sight of U.S. warships. Fishing for intelligence, that is, boom! (Sorry, it was so bad I couldn’t resist.)

Anyway, it appears that some of those trawlers were carrying more than imaginary fishhooks and EW/SIGINT gear.  The pic below shows the bow section of that trawler equipped with what appears to be at least one torpedo tube and what might be a sonar dome. So sneaky. This torpedo-armed trawler may have been a one-off concept ship, since it’s unknown how many were actually built

Via Sal.

23 Comments on "Cold War Tech: Soviet Torpedo Trawlers"

  1. A short but exciting life in the event of war.

  2. It's all for fishing, the sonar is obviously for finding fish and the torpedo tube isn't really a torpedo, it's a fish vacuum designed to suck fish as the trawler goes through a school of fish. Yeah, yeah, that's it, a fish vacuum.

  3. Its got to be a sonar dome, nver seen a hull like that on a commercial fishery vessel.Great pics.

  4. Hmm.. I can see a lot of innocent civilian Iranian shipping vessels going in for hull work soon.

  5. TT 'outer' doors open outwards – not the case here. A bow sonar like that would not survive the battering it would receive if mounted on a small boat in a proper Atlantic seaway. (Inventive use of fibreglass, Duck tape, etc, is to be commended).

  6. 1. I wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese had something along these lines. They harass ships with fishing boats, if I recall correctly.

    2. Whoever writes these articles uses the phrase: "you know, (insert something slightly ironic or humerous)" a lot. Has anybody else noticed this?

  7. Not shocking the Soviets had alot of covert ways to destroy America in any event of war. KGB agents armed with Suit Case Nukes for instance. I doubt this trawlers would be able to take any large fleet into chaos but attacking supply ships would be useful.

    Interesting history. Thanks Defense Tech.

  8. You know what those doors are?

    A nearly silent propulsion system?

  9. stephen russell | March 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm |

    Cute, get in close range wise & fire lone torpedo then scurry away amid the waves.
    But suicidal since nearby escorts would fire on said ship or carrier planes would hunt down trawler.
    Scary then during Cold War 1.

  10. It's probably a silent propulsion system – I.E. Caterpillar Drive.

    "If I can get you close enough, can you track this thing, Jonesy ?".

    "Sure Captain, all I need is a pair of good binoculars".

  11. Not a big shocker. The Soviet's had a penchant for arming everything possible. War truly was an all hands on deck effort, if it came to that.

  12. Richard O'Brien | March 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm |

    True that there were several suitcase bombs buried in places like Upper State New York (2k equiv. explosive power). Gorbachev disclosed the locations in the early 90s.
    Russians shipped tactical nuclear bombs into Cuba in 1962, BEFORE the missiles arrived. Our JCS was clueless by recommending a conventional ground invasion of the island; Russian orders were to use 'em.
    GUARANTEE: The Chinese have the same game plan on the West Coast today – 20,000 sleepers and bombs to boot. Hey, like that Chinese dirty bomb at Fort Knox in Jame Bond's "Goldfinder"! And that was '64.

  13. Sorta like what the Kriegsmarine did, turning cargo ships into raiders.

  14. Didn't Zumwalt fear that the trawlers would open fire on US carriers etc in the first stages of WWIII?

    I believe the Pegasus fleet was in part meant to combat that. Put a Pegasus next to a trawler- when the balloon goes us- they slug it out- leaving the destroyers, CV's out of it-

  15. Torpedo tubes on a trawler. Damned sneaky surprise.

  16. One day those Japanese whaler ships are going to get tired of the Greenpeace types & try this idea.

  17. Could it some kind of ballast hatches?
    Fill it with ocean water for stability at rough sea, but emptying it for speed when the sea allows for it.

    Can imagine that the trawler have som kind of tubes along the underwater line of the hull. to hold the water, when ballasted down.

    Just a thought from a small lake sailor…

  18. OS-57 is apparently a torpedo trials vessel of the Project 1824 “Muna” class.
    It can both launch torpedoes in simulated submarine conditions, track them and recover them with the onboard cranes.

  19. Whoever designed that had apparently never been to sea. In even moderate seas the torpedo tubes would be visible as the boat crested a wave. If this vessel approached our fleet the jammers would come on and they would sink it asap.

  20. Oh, wait. They were probably not designed to be a threat to our fleet, but to our boomer subs. A trawler would be ignored by the sub and it could listen and be prepared to launch if so ordered.

  21. A.D. Baker III | April 16, 2014 at 8:19 pm |

    I gather that the author of the article and most of those making comments have never looked at a copy of Jane's Fighting Ships or Combat Fleets of the World, wherein this very elderly Muna-class trials craft is listed, illustrated, and described. The letters on the bow stand for the Opitnoye Sudno = Trials Vessel, and the craft (and a sister) have been around for over 40 years.

  22. You have to give it to the Russians that is an absolutely brilliant idea and form of self defence agains marauding idiot "fish police". pity the trawler pirated in Senigal and off Norway did not have it fitted, that would be a good way to stirup NATO in the black Sea . Mr Putin need to build a few more andn als fit them with decent anti-ship anti-air missile launcher s. If the stupids of NATO and the dumb yankees want a fight. One trawler to kill a fla top or just an Agis cruser in my workld is a win-win to the Russan Black Sea fleet. Time to bloody the kankee balls and nose

Comments are closed.