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Torpedoes are self-propelled underwater missile weapons designed for use against surface and submerged targets. They incorporate a warhead, propulsion source, steering mechanisms, and, in modern iterations, a guidance system.

Many of the characteristics associated with modern torpedoes originated prior to the end of the Second World War. The earliest successful models were built in three sections: (1) the warhead, (2) a central section containing a compressed air flask to power the torpedo, and (3) an after body with drive and steering mechanisms. These early weapons could follow a relatively straight path at a preset depth and depended on warheads fired by a simple impact fuse.

Designed initially for use by surface combatants, these early torpedoes were quickly mated with submarines once their inventors provided seaworthy platforms around ...

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