Description: Self-propelled guided projectile that operates underwater and is designed to detonate on contact or in proximity to a
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
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 torpedo.
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).
Range: Greater than 5 miles (8 km)
Depth: Greater than 1,200 ft (365.76 meters)
Speed: Greater than 28 knots (32.2 mph, 51.52 kph)
Guidance System: Wire guided and passive/active
Warhead: 650 lbs (292.5 kg) high explosive
Date Deployed: 1972
Primary Function: Heavyweight torpedo for
Power Plant: Piston engine; pump jet
Length: 19 feet (5.79 meters)
Weight: 3,434 lbs (1545.3 kg) (MK-48); 3,695 lbs
(1662.75 kg) (MK-48 ADCAP)
Diameter: 21 inches (53.34 centimeters)