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The MK 46 MOD 5A(S) torpedo achieved its initial operational Capability and was introduced into the fleet in 1979. It can be launched from fixed and rotary wing aircraft and surface combatants VLA and torpedo tubes. Full-up MK 46 torpedoes are no longer being produced. In 1987, a major upgrade program enhanced the performance of the MK 46 Mod 5A(S) in shallow water.

A service life extension program was initiated in 1992 to extend the life of the MK 46 Mod 5A(S), convert it to the MK 46 Mod 5A(SW), and to provide additional shallow water and bottom avoidance modes. The MK 46 Mod 5A(SW) was introduced to the Fleet in 1996.

DIMENSION: 8.5 ft. long, 12.75 in. diameter

WEIGHT: 512 lb.

RANGE: More than 8,000 yds.

SPEED: 45 Knots

PROPULSION: Two-speed, reciprocation external combustion

WARHEAD: 96 lbs. of PBXN-103

DEPTH: Greater then 1,200 ft.

ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER: Alliant Techsystems, Honeywell


The MK-48 Torpedo is a long-range, high-speed, deep-depth, wire-guided acoustic homing weapon designed to combat slow diesel submarines, fast, deep diving nuclear submarines and high-performance surface ships and can be carried aboard all Navy submarines. Developed by the Applied Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Baltimore, Md., the MK-48 and its subsequent variants have been in service with the Navy since 1972.

In 1975 an operational requirement was issued by OPNAV to develop modifications to the MK-48 to keep pace with threat advancements. This development effort was accelerated to neutralize the former Soviet Alpha threat and resulted in the MK-48 MOD 4 which achieved Initial Operational Capability in 1980.

Additional efforts resulted in development of the digital advanced capability (ADCAP) MK-48 MOD 5 which is carried by Los Angeles and Seawolf-class attack submarines and some Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines. The MK-48 MOD 5 became operational in 1988 and was approved for production a year later.

Although full-up torpedoes have not been produced since 1994, modifications (ADCAP MODS) produced by Northrup Grumman and Raytheon Systems Corporation have significantly reduced the weapon's radiated noise, enhanced its countermeasure rejection capability, increased its guidance and control processing and memory and improved its shallow water capabilities. This newest variant is designated the MK-48 MOD 6.

DIMENSION: 19 feet long, 21 in. diameter

WEIGHT: 3,434 lbs. (MK-48) 3,695 (MK-48 ADCAP)

RANGE: Greater than 8 nm.

SPEED: Greater than 28 Knots

PROPULSION: Positive displacement Piston-type engine with OTTO fuel II

WARHEAD: Bulk charge 650 lbs. of high explosive

DEPTH: Greater than 1.200 ft.

Original Manufacturer: Gould


The MK-50 torpedo began low-rate initial production in 1987. The MK-50 can be launched from all ASW aircraft and from torpedo tubes aboard surface combatants. It is an advanced lightweight digital torpedo designed for use against faster, deeper-diving and more sophisticated submarines.

The stored chemical energy propulsion system develops full power at all depths and is capable of multi-speed operations required by the tactical situation. Although full-up torpedoes have not been produced since 1993, the Block I software upgrade program has enhanced the MK 50's shallow water and countermeasure capability. Also a new longer-lasting, safer and cheaper stored chemical energy propulsion system is currently being introduced.

DIMENSION: 9.3 ft. long, 12.75 in. diameter

WEIGHT: 750 lbs.

RANGE: In excess of 14,000 yds.

SPEED: Multiple speeds with a top speed in excess of 40 knots

PROPULSION: close-cycle Stored chemical Energy Propulsion System

WARHEAD: Approximately 100 lbs. high explosive shaped charge

DEPTH: 3,600 ft.

ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER: Alliant Techsystems, Westinghouse


MK-67 SLMM (Submarine Launched Mobile Mine)

Based on the MK 37 torpedo, the SLMM is a submarine-deployed mine used for covert mining in hostile environments. The MK-67 began active service in 1983.

TYPE: Submarine laid bottom mine.

DIMENSIONS: 13.4 ft. long; 19 In. diameter

DETECTION SYSTEM: Magnetic/seismic or Magnetic/seismic/pressure target detection devices (TDDs)

DEPTH RANGE: Up to 600 ft. (183 meters)

WEIGHT: 1,658 pounds (754 kilograms)

EXPLOSIVES: 330 pounds (150 kilograms) of high explosive

MK-65 Quickstrike

The Quickstike is a shallow-water, aircraft-laid mine used primarily against surface ships. The MK 65 is a 2,390 lb. bomb fitted with a thin-walled mine casing. Older Quickstrike versions (MK-62, MK-63 and MK-64) were converted streamlined bombs of the 500 lb., 1,000 lb. and 2,000 lb. sizes. First fleet service in 1983.

TYPE: Aircraft laid bottom mine.

DIMENSIONS: 10.6 ft. long; 29 in. diameter Detection

System: Magnetic/seismic/ pressure target detection devices (TDDs) are used on various models.

DEPTH RANGE: Up to 600 ft. (183 meters)

WEIGHT: 2390 pounds (1,086 kilograms)

EXPLOSIVES: Various loads

MK-60 Captor

The Captor is the Navy's primary, antisubmarine weapon. This deep-water mine is designed to be laid by aircraft or submarines and is anchored to the ocean floor. Its acoustic detection system is designed to seek hostile submarines, while ignoring surface craft and friendly submarine acoustic signatures. Upon detection of a hostile submarine, the Captor launches an MK-46 Mod 4 torpedo. First fleet use in 1979.

TYPE: Aircraft, ship or submarine-laid, magnetically-moored mine.

DIMENSIONS: Aircraft/Ship laid: 12 ft. long/21 in. diameter; Submarine laid: 11 ft. long/21 In. diameter

DETECTION SYSTEM: Reliable acoustic path (RAP) sound propagation.

DEPTH RANGE: Up to 3,000 ft.

WEIGHT: Air/Ship laid: 2,370 pounds; submarine laid: 2,056 pounds

EXPLOSIVES: 96 pounds of PBXN 103 high explosive MK-46 torpedo.

MK-56 and MK-57

The MK-56 ASW mine (the oldest still In use) was developed in 1966.

TYPE: Aircraft-laid, moored mine (MK-56) submarine-laid, magnetically-moored mine (MK 57)

DIMENSIONS: (MK 56) 9.5 ft. long, 22.4 in diameter, (MK 57) 10 ft. long, 21 in. diameter

DETECTION SYSTEM: Total field magnetic exploder.

DEPTH RANGE: Up to 1,000 ft.

WEIGHT: MK 56: 2,000 pounds; MK 57: 2,059 pounds

EXPLOSIVES: MK 56: 360 pounds HBX-3; MK 57: 340 pounds HBX 3


Naval Sea Systems Command

Naval Air Systems Command

The U.S. Naval Institute Guide to

World Naval Weapons Systems, 1997-1998
COPYRIGHT 2001 U.S. Navy
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:All Hands
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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