Paravane

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paravane

[′par·ə‚vān]
(engineering)
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.

Paravane

 

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.