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The Mark 48 Torpedo

Description: Self-propelled guided projectile that operates underwater and is designed to detonate on contact or in proximity to a target.

Features: Torpedoes may be launched from submarines, surface ships, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The Mark 48 is considered the "heavy-weight" torpedo in the Navy inventory.

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 MK-48 replaced both the MK-37 and MK-14 torpedoes.    The MK-48 has been operational in the U.S. Navy since 1972 after it's testing and acceptance to the Navy fleet by the USS BERGALL.    MK-48 torpedo 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.    They can conduct multiple reattacks if they miss the target.   The MK 48 is propelled by a piston engine
with twin, contra-rotating propellers in a pump jet or shrouded configuration.   The engine uses a liquid monopropellant fuel,
and the torpedo has a conventional, high-explosive warhead.   The MK 48 has a sophisticated guidance system permitting a
variety of attack options.   As the torpedo leaves the submarine's launch tube a thin wire spins out, electronically linking the
submarine and torpedo.   This enables an operator in the submarine, with access to the submarine's sensitive sonar systems,
initially to guide the torpedo toward the target.   This helps the torpedo avoid decoys and jamming devices that might be
deployed by the target.   The range of a Mark 48 (the Navy says nothing, but published sources are available) is thirty-eight miles. Consequently the old World War II aim-by-eyeball is impossible.   Near the target, the wire is severed and the torpedo's high-powered active/passive sonar guides the torpedo during the final attack.

General Characteristics, MK-48

Primary Function: Heavyweight torpedo for submarines
Contractor: Gould
Power Plant: Piston engine; pump jet
Length: 19 feet (5.79 meters)
Weight: 3,434 lbs (1545.3 kg)
Diameter: 21 inches (53.34 centimeters)
Range: Greater than 5 miles (8 km) (see above)
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 acoustic homing
Warhead: 650 lbs (292.5 kg) high explosive
Date Deployed: 1972

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