The MK-46 lightweight torpedo is identified as the NATO standard. It was designed to attack high performance submarines, to be launched from surface combatant torpedo tubes (Mk-32), ASROC missiles and fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
The Mk-46 Mod. 0 torpedo was introduced in the 1960th. Since then, more than 25,000 Mk-46 Mod. 0, 1, 2, 5 and 6 were delivered to the US Navy as well as to 26 foreign navies.
The MK-46 torpedo originated from the RETORC I (Research Torpedo Configuration I) program. 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). The MK-46 Mod. 5 torpedo is planned to remain in service until 2015.
Additionally, as part of the "Near Term Improvement Program" (NEARTIP) several Mk-46 Mod. 1 and 2 were upgraded to Mk-46 Mod. 6 NEARTIP. The upgrades included acoustic improvements and countermeasures resistance.
Funds for the development of the Mk-46 Mod. 7 torpedo were not authorized because the Congress wanted the money to be used for the Mk-50 ALWT torpedo.
The Mk-46 Mod. 4 torpedo is part of the Mk-60 CAPTOR (=Encapsulated Torpedo) mine. This mine uses a submerged sensor platform that releases the torpedo when a hostile contact is detected.
|General Characteristics - Mk-46 Mod. 5 Torpedo|
|Primary Function||Air and ship-launched lightweight-torpedo|
|Power Plant||Two-speed, reciprocating external combustion;|
Mono-propellant (Otto fuel II) fueled
|Length||102.36 inches (2.599 meters) tube launch configuration (from ship)|
|Weight||517.65 pounds (234.806 kg) warshot configuration|
|Diameter||12.75 inches (187.96 centimeters)|
|Range||officially: 8,000 yards (7315.2 meters)|
reportedly: 11,400 - 12,000 yards (10424.16 - 10,972,8 meters) at 45 kt
|Weapon acquisition range||1,600 yards (1,463.04 meters)|
|Min/Max ASROC launching ranges||1,500 to 12,000 yards (1,371.6 to 10,972.8 meters)|
|Depth||officially: 1,200 feet+ (365.76 meters)|
reportedly: 1,500 feet (457.2 meters)
|Search/attack depth settings||Minimum: 20 yards (18.288 meters)|
Maximum: 1,500 yards (1371.6 meters)
|Speed||28+ knots; 32.2 mph; 51,52 km/h|
actual: 45 knots; 51,8 mph; 83.34 km/h
|Run characteristics||6-8 minutes clockwise|
|Guidance System||Homing mode - Active or passive/active acoustic homing|
Launch/search mode - Snake or circle search
|Warhead||98 lbs. of PBXN-103 high explosive (bulk charge)|
|Date Deployed||Mod 0: 1966|
Mod 5: 1979
Mk-46 Torpedo Image Gallery: