QuickSink Weapon For Use Against Merchant Ships

I read this article with interest: Could New Quicksink Weapon Stop 5,500 Armed Merchant Ships?

Does anyone think a shoulder fired weapon would be effective against a decent sized merchant ship? I remember the so-called “Tanker War” in the Persian Gulf when the Iraqis and Iranians were attacking tankers with French made Exocet missiles (among other weapons). The missiles had a 360 pound warhead and the missile fuel added to its explosive power. I can’t remember any being sunk. Mostly they said “ouch” and limped into port, even after being hit by more than one. The tanker Bridgerton hit a mine (weight of explosive unknown to me, but probably more than could be carried on someone’s shoulder) and suffered a 450 square foot dent in its outer hull.

After the 9/11 attacks the pilots attended security briefings at the port. One of the concerns was a terrorist dropping a charge from one of the bridges over the channel. We were told that a backpack bomb that someone could actually carry would have little or no effect on a ship. A truck bomb might do the trick, but driving one off a bridge onto a tanker would be something for the movies, not real life.

Does anyone remember the book, “Ship Killer” by Justin Scott? He was a naval architect who wrote an amazing best seller about a naval architect sailing with his wife and being run down by a supertanker in a rainstorm. To avenge the loss of his wife he determined to sink the supertanker. It involves a shoulder fired weapon and a very specialized knowledge of ship design. Worth reading.

Bottom line… QuickSink is not likely to be quick or effective. Anyone have thoughts on this?

I saw the video of it. It broke a cargo ship in half and it is most definitely not shoulder launched. I’ll see if I can find the video but as a merchant mariner it was a bit chilling to see.

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It basically does the same thing a mk48 can be set to do and explode below the keel to snap the hull in half.

A few were sunk or destroyed.


I love it! We spent a ton of money testing a new version of a weapon with a fancy new name, when really the GBU-28 bunker buster bomb probably has the same effect.


Nothing new.
They sank the Tirpitz using them.

Tallboy bomb from WWII goes off in defusing attempt (Poland) - BBC News - 14th October 2020 - Bing video

According to the reports this is a 2000 lb weapon, which makes it shoulder launched only if you have a very impressive set of shoulders. The delivery vehicle can carry twice as many of these as GBU-28s. The trick is to get an unpowered, air dropped weapon to transition from near-vertical free fall to a path that takes it close to and under the target and detonate it at just the right time. From the video the point of detonation appears to be centered under the target and not off to the side where the weapon entered the water.



I believe in one instance an American master was either killed or permanently disabled from one such attack, as was another American seaman on the bridge at the time. Can’t recall if the ship was sunk though. Might have been in the Persian Gulf, not Red Sea.

The “Tanker War” took place during the Iran-Iraq War and in the Persian Gulf, with a few incidents in the Gulf of Oman. (None in the Red Sea)

A total of 330 civilian ships and oil rigs were attacked and 133 sunk or destructed/declared total loss, of which 41 were tankers.

200 seamen were killed and as many wounded. (Sorry, nobody kept separate statistics for Americans)

Both Iran and Iraq was attacking tankers. It was the Iraqis who used Exocet rockets to stop the export of crude from Kharg Island.

The US Navy was actively involved on the side of Iraq:

One of the more famous casualties of the Tanker War was the world’s largest tanker, the 564763 DWT Seawise Giant that was used as a transshipment point for shuttle tankers from Kharg and to VLCC that carried the crude to markets around the world.
She was hit by several rockets and badly damaged, but salvages and repaired in Singapore. She became the Happy Giant, later Jahre Viking and Knock Navis. Finally used as FSO. Broken up at Alang 2009.
Seen here on fire in 1988:

She was actually sunk, but in shallow waters;

Seen here as Happy Giant, being towed in to Keppel Shipyard, Singapore for repairs:

Another smarmy jab from the American hating xenophobe himself. Expected nothing less.

Impressive. The article spent a lot of words on the Javelin so I hope I can be excused from misunderstanding.

You are absolutely right. Persian Gulf instead of Red Sea. I corrected my OP. Thanks.

Very few incidents outside Hormuz, but I remember passing through drifting wreckage in the Gulf of Oman one time while on a J/U rig being towed from Bombay to Jubal Ali, UAE.

Since it was.an American registered rig we got protection from US Navy fighter jets already in the Gulf of Oman. They came VERY low over the rig.
With the legs sticking way above the derrick and no warning lights on the legs we had to ask them not to protect us quite so close at night.

PS> While in Dubai for a rig move in 1985 I was offered USD 10K to take a tanker to Kharg Island and back.

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I believe he was blinded permanently in the blast and something like 20 others were wounded, it was the Sea Isle City. I remember it making the news and the resulting Operation Nimble Archer.

The U.S. fleet was/is small but even we were effected by their war in the gulf.

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It’s my fault for not being clear enough but there are two very different weapons discussed in this article.

One is a shoulder-fired missiles similar to the Javelin anti-tank missile. As far as I know this one has not been tested against ships (but the marines have tested it against boats). This is not a good offensive weapon for America because we don’t have very many ships or mariners left to issue this weapon to.

The other weapon is a big bomb dropped from an aircraft. It’s basically a dumb bomb with a relatively cheap electronics package that let’s it hone in on a ship. This one has been tested against ships. This is a good offensive weapon for America to use against commercial nations of other countries because we have the most aircraft carriers and airbases to deploy them from.

Both can be used against commercial shipping but only the shoulder-fired weapon could be used BY merchant mariners.

Call me unimpressed with “quicksink”. Unless I’m missing something, they’ve got a 2k dumb-bomb with a tv camera and fins - something that’s been around for a while, and certainly got media attention last century in OP Desert Storm! And in WWII, dive bombers were trying to drop big bombs, at least 1000 if not 2000# on ships [Remember the ARIZONA??]. So all I saw was a 2k bomb dropped on a DIW small freighter, with empty cargo hold, and what appeared to be open hatches. Of course such a target would be demolished. Like I said, unless I’m missing something, the USA has spent a lot of $$$ on tech that already existed.


I’ll share the blame. The info was there if I wanted to dig a little. I’m one if those guys who looks at the pictures and the lead photo was a Marine with a shoulder unit.

I have no doubt a 2000 pound explosive could severely mess up a ship.

I’d say a guidance package, even a cheap one, takes it into smart bomb territory. Maybe not smart enough to get into the ivy league, but definitely not a high school dropout like we had in WWII.


I wonder who in the Army sold this test. There’s not much doubt that a 2000# bomb dropped on a ship will sink. It’s got as much explosives as the largest Russian torpedos. I’m sure they had fun blowing up the ship, but there could be little doubt of the outcome.

The Tallboy was 12000lbs, (5400kg) , did the job.

Keeping old traditions alive is the pinnacle of military arts.