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Supercavitation Explained

Cavitation occurs when a fluid dips below its vapor pressure, resulting in the formation of bubbles. Supercavitation leverages the cavitation effect to create a vaporous void that fully encompasses an object travelling through a liquid medium. This drastically reduces skin friction drag, enabling sustained high velocities subsurface. Currently, applications are limited to projectiles and torpedoes.

Supercavitating objects initiate cavitation at their nose—through physical interaction or augmented by internal gas—and produce a conical void extending along their entire length. The profile of this void and the object’s own stability mechanisms permits high speed passage by preventing its sides from contacting the surrounding liquid.

Maritime critical infrastructure (ports, oil platforms, windmills, etc.) is more vulnerable than ever to attack by divers, armed underwater vehicles, and mobile underwater IEDs. Defense of these vital structures is often assigned to the Coast Guard or federal law enforcement, who primarily employ small arms. The inability of standard ammunition to counter these threats demands a means to engage underwater targets accurately and effectively, while maintaining the ability to carry out standard mission requirements on land and on the surface.

The integration of DSG Technology’s revolutionary CAV-X™ ammunition—compatible with existing weapons and vehicle platforms in 5.56x45mm, 7.62x51mm, and 12.7x99mm—is  an easily implementable, instantly effective solution. Our 12.7x99mm round’s tungsten projectile travels up to 60m subsurface and penetrates steel armor after 100m of travel through air and 30m underwater. The innovative design of CAV-X™ allows it to penetrate the surface at angles as low as 2 degrees, effectively eliminating the risk of ricochet and collateral damage in congested maritime environments. With CAV-X™, end users can even engage targets through swells from the bottom of wave troughs. 

The ability to disable vessels without harming personnel by engaging key subsurface components, such as shafts and propellors, is vital for interdiction missions. While the CAV-X™ 12.7x99mm penetrates heavily armored motor blocks and thick steel after 30m of travel underwater, 7.62x51mm and 5.56x45mm projectiles render craft previously resistant to small caliber fire vulnerable at critical points below the waterline by retaining excellent terminal ballistics after several meters of travel through water. Additionally, SONAR guided fire using vapor cavities enables accurate fire on submerged objects in murky water or dark conditions.

Deploying effective countermeasures against mines in shallow water is complicated, expensive, and dangerous. The ability to engage mines and other near-surface threats from aerial platforms utilizing existing weapons systems is a safe, cost-effective solution. Whether through optical targeting or sonar-assisted localization and engagement, the successful destruction of targets depends on the ability of projectiles to retain effective velocity underwater and penetrate protective steel armor. CAV-X™ 12.7x99mm rounds deliver effective terminal ballistics on hard targets after 30m of travel through water.

Gunner shooting supercavitating cav-x at submerged threat

Currently available in 7.62x51mm, the XMP™ has exceptional accuracy and penetration capabilities at long range. XMP™ ammunition offers the ability to engage targets recessed up to 15m behind windscreens inclined up to 30 degrees with minimal post-barrier deviation. For the first time, intermediate barriers, multi-layer steel, and near-peer or NIJ Level IV body armor are defeated with a single shot in this venerable battle rifle chambering.

As range increases, the advantage of XMP™ over standard armor-piercing ammunition likewise increases in a compound manner, delivering twice the energy at 500m and four times at 800m. The mass and ballistic profile of XMP projectiles enable them to remain supersonic to 1,2000m, minimize wind drift, and deliver 1,356nm (1,000 ft/lbs) of energy at 1,000m.

The SUB-P™ subsonic variant utilizes the same projectile and offers commensurate barrier- and armor-defeating capabilities at reduced ranges.