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MK-46 Torpedo

Torpedoes are self-propelled guided projectiles that operate underwater and are designed to detonate on contact or in proximity to a target. They may be launched from submarines, surface ships, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. They are also used as parts of other weapons; the Mark 46 torpedo becomes the warhead section of the ASROC (Anti-Submarine ROCket) and the Captor mine uses a submerged sensor platform that releases a torpedo when a hostile contact is detected. The three major torpedoes in the Navy inventory are the Mark 48 heavyweight torpedo, the Mark 46 lightweight and the Mark 50 advanced lightweight.

The MK-46 torpedo is designed to attack high performance submarines, and is presently identified as the NATO standard. The MK-46 torpedo is designed to be launched from surface combatant torpedo tubes, ASROC missiles and fixed and rotary wing aircraft. In 1989, a major upgrade program began to enhance the performance of the MK-46 Mod 5 in shallow water. Weapons incorporating these improvements are identified as Mod 5A and Mod 5A(S). The MK-46 Mod 5 torpedo is the backbone of the Navy's lightweight ASW torpedo inventory and is expected to remain in service until the year 2015. The MK 46 originated with the RETORC I (Research Torpedo Configuration I) program conducted by the US Naval Undersea Center (NUC) at Pasadena, CA.

Specifications

Primary Function Air and ship-launched lightweight torpedo
Contractor Alliant Techsystems
Power Plant Two-speed, reciprocating external combustion;
Mono-propellant (Otto fuel II) fueled
Length 102.36 in. tube launch configuration (from ship)
Weight 517.65 lbs (warshot configuration)
Diameter 12.75 inches
RangeOfficially "8,000 yards"
Reportedly 11,400 - 12,000 yd. at 45 kt.
Weapon acquisition range 1600 yards
Min/Max ASROC launching ranges 1500 to 12000 yards
DepthOfficially "Greater than 1,200 ft (365 meters)"
Reportedly 1,500 ft.
Search/attack depth settings Minimum 20 yards
Maximum 1500 yards
Speed Greater than 28 knots (32.2 mph, 51.52 kph)
Reportedly 45 kt
Actual 45 knots
Run characteristics 6-8 minutes
clockwise
Guidance System Homing mode - Active or passive/active acoustic homing
Launch/search mode - Snake or circle search
Warhead 98 lbs. of PBXN-103 high explosive (bulk charge)
Date Deployed 1966 (Mod 0); 1979 (Mod 5)

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Updated Saturday, December 12, 1998 7:17:49 AM