(redirected from paravanes)
Also found in: Dictionary.


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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
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.
Small vessels were normally used to drag paravanes because they were more manoeuvrable than larger boats.
The paravane would be streamed alongside a towing ship, normally from the bow.
On 5 February, 1941, Curtin, meeting Menzies at the Advisory War Council, advised him in regard to strikes against the manufacturing of ships and of mine sweeping equipment, his advice being minuted as follows: (11) "If it can be brought vividly home to the members of the unions engaged in such activities that the lack of ships and of degaussing and paravane equipment was causing the loss of lives of fellow-unionists in the Seamen's Union, they would readily agree to forego their objections and make extreme efforts to remedy the situation to the best of their ability.