Mark 46 torpedo

The Mark 46 torpedo is the backbone of the United States Navy's lightweight anti-submarine warfare torpedo inventory and is the NATO standard. These aerial torpedoes are designed to attack high-performance submarines. In 1989, an improvement program for the Mod 5 to the Mod 5A and Mod 5A(S) increased its shallow-water performance. The Mark 46 was initially developed as REsearch TORpedo Concept I (RETORC I), one of several weapons recommended for implementation by Project Nobska, a 1956 summer study on submarine warfare.[3]

Mark 46 torpedo
A Mk 46 exercise torpedo launched from USS Mustin.
TypeLightweight antisubmarine torpedo[1]
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service• Mod 0: 1963[1]
• Mod 5: 1979
Used bySee operators
Production history
DesignerNaval Ordnance Test Station Pasadena[1]
Alliant Techsystems
Naval Ordnance Station Forest Park
VariantsMod 0[1]
Mod 1
Mod 2
Mod 5
Mod 5A
Mod 5A(S)
Mod 5A(SW)[2]
Mass508 lb (230 kg)
Length8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Diameter12.75 in (323.8 mm)

WarheadPBXN-103 high explosive (bulk charge)
Warhead weight96.8 lb (43.9 kg)

EngineTwo-speed, reciprocating external combustion
PropellantOtto fuel II
12,000 yd (10,973 m)
Maximum depth>1,200 ft (366 m)
Speed>40 kn (74 km/h; 46 mph)
Active or passive/active acoustic homing
Mark 32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes, ASW Aircraft, RUM-139 VL-ASROC

Design details

Mark 46, Mod 5
  • Primary Function: Air and ship-launched lightweight torpedo[4]
  • Contractor: Alliant Techsystems
  • Power Plant: Two-speed, reciprocating external combustion; Mono-propellant (Otto fuel II)
  • Length: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) tube launch configuration (from ship),[5] 14 ft 9 in (4.50 m) with ASROC rocket booster[4]
  • Weight: 508 lb (230 kg)[4] (warshot configuration)
  • Diameter: 12.75 in (323.8 mm)[5]
  • Range: 12,000 yd (10,973 m)[4]
  • Depth: > 1,200 ft (366 m)
  • Speed: > 40 kn (46 mph; 74 km/h)[4]
  • Guidance System: Homing mode: Active or passive/active acoustic homing[5]
  • Launch/search mode: Snake or circle search
  • Warhead: 96.8 lb (43.9 kg)[4] of PBXN-103 high explosive (bulk charge)
  • Date Deployed: 1967 (Mod 0);[4] 1979 (Mod 5)

Yu-7 variant

The Chinese Yu-7 torpedo is said to be based on the Mk 46 Mod 2. The Chinese Navy used the Yu-7 ASW torpedo, deployed primarily on ships and ASW helicopters,[6] but it started to be replaced by the Yu-11 in 2012.[7]


See also


  1. Jolie, E.W. (15 September 1978). "A Brief History of US Navy Torpedo Development: Torpedo Mk46". Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  2. "The US Navy Fact File: Mark 46 Torpedo". 27 November 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  3. Friedman, Norman (1994). U.S. Submarines Since 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. pp. 109–114. ISBN 1-55750-260-9.
  4. Thomas, Vincent C. The Almanac of Seapower 1987 Navy League of the United States (1987) ISBN 0-9610724-8-2 pp.190-191
  5. Polmar, Norman "The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet: Torpedoes" United States Naval Institute Proceedings November 1978 p.160
  6. (Chinese language) Archived 2006-11-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Undersea dragon: Chinese ASW capabilities advance" (PDF). Jane's. 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  8. "Mk 46 torpedo -".

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