W44 nuclear warhead (retired)
|Engine||Solid propellant rocket motor|
|6 mi (9.7 km)|
The RUR-5 ASROC (for "Anti-Submarine Rocket") is an all-weather, all sea-conditions anti-submarine missile system. Developed by the United States Navy in the 1950s, it was deployed in the 1960s, updated in the 1990s, and eventually installed on over 200 USN surface ships, specifically cruisers, destroyers, and frigates. The ASROC has been deployed on scores of warships of many other navies, including Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of China, Greece, Pakistan and others.
ASROC started development as the Rocket Assisted Torpedo (RAT) program by Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the early 1950s to develop a surface warship ASW weapon to counter the new post-World War II submarines which ran quieter, at much higher speed and could attack from much longer range with high speed homing torpedoes. In addition, the goal was to take advantage of modern sonars with a much larger detection range. An extended range torpedo delivered by parachute from the air would allow warships the stand-off capability to attack hostile submarines with very little advance notice to the hostile submarine.
The RAT program came in three phases: RAT-A, RAT-B and RAT-C. RAT-A and its follow-on, RAT-B, were compact and economical stand-off weapons for smaller warships, but were determined to be either unreliable or had too short a range. RAT-C was developed as a stand-off ASW weapon that used a nuclear depth charge. This required a range of at least 8,000 yards (7,300 m) to escape potential damage from the underwater blast. The RAT-C was considerably larger than the previous RAT program rockets to accommodate the extended range needed and was for larger warships.
After the failure of both the RAT-A and RAT-B programs, RAT-C was redesigned to use not only a nuclear depth charge but also a homing ASW torpedo. To obtain the accuracy needed, the RAT-C rocket booster had to be redesigned with larger side fins. This program finally combined reliability and accuracy, along with the required stand-off range. Before RAT-C reached operational status in 1960, aboard the large US Navy destroyer leader USS Norfolk, its name was changed to ASROC. ASROC was deployed in 1961 and eventually made the majority of USN surface combatants nuclear-capable.
The first ASROC system using the MK-112 "Matchbox" launcher was developed in the 1950s and installed in the 1960s. This system was phased out in the 1990s and replaced with the RUM-139 Vertical Launch ASROC, or "VLA".
After a surface ship, patrol plane or anti-submarine helicopter detects an enemy
W44 nuclear depth charge
The W44 nuclear depth charge entered service in 1961,
One of the first ASROC installations was on USS Norfolk (DL-1) in 1960. The first large group of ships to receive ASROC were 78 Gearing-class destroyers, modified under the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization Mark I program (FRAM I) in the early 1960s. A Mark 112 8-tube ASROC launcher was added along with other major modifications. ASROC reloads were stowed alongside the helicopter hangar and handled by a small crane.
Most other US Navy and allied navy destroyers, destroyer escorts, frigates, and several different classes of cruisers only carried the one ASROC "matchbox" MK 112 launcher with eight ASROC missiles (although later in service, some of those missiles could be replaced by the Harpoon anti-ship missile). The "matchbox" Mk 112 launchers were capable of carrying a mixture of the two types. Reloads were carried in many classes, either on first level of the superstructure immediately abaft the launcher, or in a separate deckhouse just forward or abaft the Mk 112.
The MK 16 Launching Group also had configurations that supported RGM-84 Harpoon (onboard Knox-class destroyer escorts (frigates)) or a variation of the Tartar missile in limited distribution.
Ships with the Mk 26 GMLS, and late marks of the Mk 10 GMLS aboard the Belknap-class cruisers, could accommodate ASROC in these power-loaded launchers (the Mk 13 GMLS was not able to fire the weapon, as the launcher rail was too short).
Most Spruance-class destroyers were later modified to include the
- Brazilian Navy
- Royal Canadian Navy
- - only on Restigouche-class destroyers (after IRE/DELEX modification.)
- German Navy
- - only on Lütjens-class destroyers
- Hellenic Navy
- Italian Navy
- - only on
- Mexican Navy
- Republic of Korea Navy
- Pakistan Navy
- Spanish Navy
- Royal Thai Navy
- Turkish Navy
- United States Navy
- Hong Sang Eo
- RUM-139 VL-ASROC
- Sea Lance
- List of nuclear weapons
- Nuclear weapon design
- Jolie, E.W. (15 September 1978). "A Brief History of US Navy Torpedo Development: ASROC Missile". Maritime. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- "Navy Homing Torpedoes Fights Subs." Popular Mechanics, April 1958, p. 108.
- Bill Gunston Rocket & Missiles, Salamander Books Ltd 1979, ISSB 0-517-26870-1
- Polmar, Norman (1983). "Tactical Nuclear Weapons". Proceedings. United States Naval Institute. 109 (7): 125.
- Special Feature – FRAM at NavSource.org
- Friedman 2004, p. 482
- https://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/vla.htm Archived 28 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- DiGiulian, Tony Navweaps.com ASROC page
- Allbombs.html list of all US nuclear warheads at nuclearweaponarchive.org