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Mk 48 Torpedo

The Mk 48 torpedo is designed to be launched from submarine torpedo tubes. The weapon is carried by all U.S. Navy submarines, including Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines and Seawolf-, Los Angeles-, and Virginia-class attack submarines. The torpedoes can be guided from a submarine by wires attached to the torpedo. They can also use their own active or passive sensors to execute programmed target search, acquisition, and attack procedures. The torpedo is designed to detonate under the keel of a surface ship, breaking the ship's back and destroying its structural integrity. In the event of a miss, it can circle back for another attempt.
Mk 48 Torpedo Copyright © Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Randall W. Ramaswamy, U.S. Navy

Status

In active service

Contractors

Original contractor: Gould Inc.
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin

Timeline

1971 - Mk 48 Mod 1 file date
1985 - Mk 48 Mod 4 production started
1988 - Mk 48 Mod 4 field date
1989 - Mk 48 Mod 4 approved for full-rate production
1997 - Initial Operational Capability for the Mk 48 Mod 6
2006 - Initial Operational Capability for the Mk 48 Mod 7

Mod 1

The Mk 48 Mod 1 is the original version of the Mk 48 torpedo. It replaced the Mk 37 and Mk 14 torpedoes as the principal weapon of U.S. Navy submarines.

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 5.79 meters 19 feet
Diameter: 533 millimeters 21 inches
Weight
Weight: 1 558 kilograms 3 435 pounds
Warhead weight: 295 kilograms 650 pounds
Features
Speed (official): 30+ knots (55+ kilometers per hour) (34+ miles per hour)
Speed: approximately 55 knots (approximately 102 kilometers per hour) (approximately 63 miles per hour)
Range: 25+ nautical miles (46+ kilometers) (28+ miles)
Maximum depth (official): 365+ meters 1 200+ feet
Maximum depth: approximately 800 meters approximately 2 620 feet
Miscellaneous
Propulsion: Piston engine; pump jet
Guidance: Wire guided and passive/active acoustic homing
Warhead: High explosive

Mod 4 Advanced Capability (ADCAP)

The Mk 48 ADCAP program was intended to bring significant modifications to the torpedo, ensuring that the weapon could keep up with the latest Soviet submarines.

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 5.79 meters 19 feet
Diameter: 533 millimeters 21 inches
Weight
Weight: 1 676 kilograms 3 695 pounds
Warhead weight: 295 kilograms 650 pounds
Features
Speed (official): 30+ knots (55+ kilometers per hour) (34+ miles per hour)
Speed: approximately 55 knots (approximately 102 kilometers per hour) (approximately 63 miles per hour)
Range: 25+ nautical miles (46+ kilometers) (28+ miles)
Maximum depth (official): 365+ meters 1 200+ feet
Maximum depth: approximately 800 meters approximately 2 620 feet
Miscellaneous
Propulsion: Piston engine; pump jet
Guidance: Wire guided and passive/active acoustic homing
Warhead: High explosive

Mod 6

The MK 48 ADCAP Mod 6 torpedo combines two significant enhancements: one in guidance and control (G&C Mod), and the other in the torpedo propulsion unit (TPU Mod). The G&C Mod improves the acoustic receiver, replaces the guidance-and-control hardware with updated technology, increases memory, and improves processor throughput to handle the expanded software demands required to improve torpedo performance against evolving threats. The TPU Mod provides a significant reduction in torpedo radiated-noise signatures. The Mod 6 is also the first torpedo that can utilize the Torpedo Downloader System (TD) which can provide rapid software updates to embarked weapons, allowing the submarine to deploy with the most up-to-date software variant.

Mod 7

The Mk 48 ADCAP Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) is optimized for usage in both deep and littoral waters and has advanced counter-countermeasure capabilities. It is the result of a Joint Development Program with the Royal Australian Navy.