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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.

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General Characteristics - Mk-46 Mod. 5 Torpedo
Primary FunctionAir and ship-launched lightweight-torpedo
ContractorAlliant Techsystems
Power PlantTwo-speed, reciprocating external combustion;
Mono-propellant (Otto fuel II) fueled
Length102.36 inches (2.599 meters) tube launch configuration (from ship)
Weight517.65 pounds (234.806 kg) warshot configuration
Diameter12.75 inches (187.96 centimeters)
Rangeofficially: 8,000 yards (7315.2 meters)
reportedly: 11,400 - 12,000 yards (10424.16 - 10,972,8 meters) at 45 kt
Weapon acquisition range1,600 yards (1,463.04 meters)
Min/Max ASROC launching ranges1,500 to 12,000 yards (1,371.6 to 10,972.8 meters)
Depthofficially: 1,200 feet+ (365.76 meters)
reportedly: 1,500 feet (457.2 meters)
Search/attack depth settingsMinimum: 20 yards (18.288 meters)
Maximum: 1,500 yards (1371.6 meters)
Speed28+ knots; 32.2 mph; 51,52 km/h
actual: 45 knots; 51,8 mph; 83.34 km/h
Run characteristics6-8 minutes clockwise
Guidance SystemHoming mode - Active or passive/active acoustic homing
Launch/search mode - Snake or circle search
Warhead98 lbs. of PBXN-103 high explosive (bulk charge)
Date DeployedMod 0: 1966
Mod 5: 1979

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