Features: Torpedoes 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-48 is designed to combat fast, deep-diving nuclear submarines
and high performance surface ships. It is carried by all Navy submarines. The
improved version, MK-48 ADCAP, is carried by attack
submarines, the Ohio
class ballistic missile submarines and will be carried by the Seawolf
class attack submarines. The MK-48 replaced both the MK-37 and MK-14 torpedoes.
The MK-48 has been operational in the U.S. Navy since 1972. MK-48 ADCAP became
operational in 1988 and was approved for full production in 1989.
The MK-46 torpedo is designed to attack high performance submarines,
and is presently identified as the NATO standard. 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-50 is an advanced lightweight torpedo for use against the
faster, deeper-diving and more sophisticated submarines. The MK-50 can be
launched from all ASW aircraft, and from torpedo tubes aboard surface combatant
ships. The MK-50 will eventually replace the MK-46 as the fleet's lightweight
Features: MK-48 and MK-48 ADCAP torpedoes can operate with or without
wire guidance and use active and/or passive homing. When launched they execute
programmed target search, acquisition and attack procedures. Both can conduct
multiple reattacks if they miss the target. 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).
Point of Contact:
Public Affairs Office
Naval Sea Systems Command (OOD)
Washington, DC 20362