Artemis: A Revolution in Heavy Torpedoes
(Source: French defence procurement agency, DGA; issued Oct 29, 2014)
(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by
The Artemis program aims to develop a new-generation heavy torpedo to equip French navy submarines. The program is presented at the Euronaval shos in Paris this week.

From 2016, the ten nuclear-powered submarines operated by the French Navy (six attack submarines and four missile boats) will begin to be equipped with a technological marvel: the new F21 heavyweight torpedo F21 developed as part of Artemis weapons program.

The DGA has awarded the French company DCNS contracts to design and produce this torpedo at the breaking edge of technology, which is designed to destroy or neutralize surface vessels (ships, boats) as well as submarines. "The F21 torpedo is the latest heavyweight torpedo in the world, and probably one of the most successful since it integrates the most advanced technologies," explains Jean-Marc Daubin, Artemis program manager.

Characteristics well in advance of the competition

The F21 heavyweight torpedo will replace the earlier F17 torpedo currently in service. In appearance, the two weapons are identical; a 6-meter long cylinder with a diameter of 533 mm (21 inches) and two sets of propellers. Inside, everything is different.

The F21 is wire-guided, that is to say it stays connected to the submarine by an optical fiber (the previous version used copper wire). This greatly increases the amount of information that can be exchanged between the two. This direct link also greatly facilitates operation and allows the submarine to discreetly monitor the torpedo until the final attack phase.

The F21 can also operate without wire guidance, as its acoustic homing system provides an excellent capability to detect and track targets autonomously. In addition, it has a very powerful electric battery that allows speeds of over 50 knots (over 90 km / h) and a range of more than 50 nautical miles.

Initial Delivery in Two Years

The Artemis program started in 2008 and the first delivery of production torpedoes is scheduled for 2016. "Since the spring of 2013, we have been testing a prototype in the Mediterranean Sea. To date, we have successfully conducted a dozen firings. Overall, the program currently calls for the delivery of 93 F21 torpedoes to be delivered beginning in 2016," says Jean-Marc Daubin.


prev next