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A torpedo-shaped device with sawlike teeth along its forward end, towed with a wire rope underwater from either side of the bow of a ship to cut the cables of anchored mines. Also known as otter.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an underwater device to protect a ship against anchored contact mines.

The paravane was first used in World War I (1914–18) by the navies of various countries and then again during World War II (1939–45). It is a streamlined metal hull equipped with a diverting plane, a depth control mechanism, a rudder, and a cutter. The base ends of a steel wire—the sweeping part—of the paravane are secured to both sides of the underwater part of the bow of the ship near the stem, and the moving end is attached to the paravane. When the ship is in motion, the oncoming stream of water pushes the planes of the devices, forcing them away from the sides and creating a tension with a force of up to several tons on the sweeping parts. When the sweeping part of the paravane contacts a mine mooring cable, the anchor of the mine is torn loose from the bottom, and the cable slides along the sweeping part of the paravane to the cutter. After the cable is cut, the anchor of the mine falls to the bottom, and the freed mine, diverted away from the side of the ship to a distance of up to 30m, floats to the surface. Other designs for paravanes are also possible.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As well as fitting paravanes, Smiths also rebuilt her bridge and created an enclosed pilot-house.
If the anchor cable would not part, the mine and the paravane would be brought together and the mine would explode harmlessly against the paravane.
The paravane was developed as a result of a threat to shipping--it was a solution that was sought after.
Two inventions are beautifully illustrated: paravanes, and a new type of machine gun mount.
Paravanes were developed by Lieutenant Burney and Commander Usborne between 1914 and 1916 as a new weapon in the battle to secure military and civilian shipping.
Burney also developed explosive paravanes as an anti-submarine weapon.
In January 1941, possibly to celebrate Australian troops' key role in Battle of Bardia, the first major Allied victory, Australian merchant seamen went on strike on the ground that ships did not have paravanes, owing to other strikes, and despite an assurance they would proceed only along swept channels.
As there were many trawlers laid up unable to fish during hostilities, their trawling gear was replaced by mine sweeping paravanes. At dawn each day a flotilla of trawlers would proceed to sea, using these paravanes to sweep the navigation channels.