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  • Nuclear Torpedoes

    On this, the anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I've just watched a BBC documentary about the 4 Soviet subs that arrived in the waters near the island as the crisis began.

    Unknown to the Pentagon, those subs each carried a nuclear torpedo, each one having the power of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. According to the program, which featured interviews with the subs' commanders, the commanders of the subs had authority to fire the torpedoes on their own initiative without waiting for a command from Moscow.

    At one point, one of the commanders, out of touch with Moscow believed a nuclear war had started and was preparing to launch his nuclear torpedo. The launch was only called off at the last minute as a result of a signal from one of the Soviet surface ships.

    Anyway, here are some questions for those in the know: What is the purpose of a torpedo with the power of a Hiroshima size bomb? (Seems like quite a lot of overkill). What would be a likely target for such a weapon, and does NATO have these?

    I'd never heard of them before today.


    Philip
    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

  • #2
    Originally posted by PhilipLaos View Post
    On this, the anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I've just watched a BBC documentary about the 4 Soviet subs that arrived in the waters near the island as the crisis began.

    Unknown to the Pentagon, those subs each carried a nuclear torpedo, each one having the power of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. According to the program, which featured interviews with the subs' commanders, the commanders of the subs had authority to fire the torpedoes on their own initiative without waiting for a command from Moscow.

    At one point, one of the commanders, out of touch with Moscow believed a nuclear war had started and was preparing to launch his nuclear torpedo. The launch was only called off at the last minute as a result of a signal from one of the Soviet surface ships.

    Anyway, here are some questions for those in the know: What is the purpose of a torpedo with the power of a Hiroshima size bomb? (Seems like quite a lot of overkill). What would be a likely target for such a weapon, and does NATO have these?

    I'd never heard of them before today.


    Philip
    I'd imagine the Sovs would've used them against reforger convoys.
    I don't know if the West used them though.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by flash View Post
      I'd imagine the Sovs would've used them against reforger convoys.
      I don't know if the West used them though.

      Not sure about torpedoes, but the west definitely has nuclear depth charges.
      Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
        Not sure about torpedoes, but the west definitely has nuclear depth charges.
        A nucler depth charge
        I estimate that the ship that lugged one of them overboard would have to be doing about 500knots to escape suicide

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        • #5
          Originally posted by flash View Post
          A nucler depth charge
          I estimate that the ship that lugged one of them overboard would have to be doing about 500knots to escape suicide

          Or dropped by aircraft. They move quicker.
          Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
            Or dropped by aircraft. They move quicker.
            Aaaah yes ,aircraft

            Comment


            • #7
              The Mark 45 anti-submarine torpedo, a.k.a. ASTOR, was a submarine-launched wire-guided nuclear torpedo designed by the United States Navy for use against high-speed, deep-diving, enemy submarines. The 19-inch (480 mm)-diameter torpedo was fitted with a W34 nuclear warhead. The need to maintain direct control over the warhead meant that a wire connection had to be maintained between the torpedo and submarine until detonation. Wire guidance systems were piggybacked onto this cable, and the torpedo had no homing capability. The design was completed in 1960, and 600 torpedoes were built between 1963 and 1976, when ASTOR was replaced by the Mark 48 torpedo.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_45_torpedo
              Credo quia absurdum.


              Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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              • #8
                Originally posted by PhilipLaos View Post

                Anyway, here are some questions for those in the know: What is the purpose of a torpedo with the power of a Hiroshima size bomb? (Seems like quite a lot of overkill). What would be a likely target for such a weapon, and does NATO have these?


                Philip


                I'd imagine they were to be used against a carrier for a one shot kill. USS Enterprise would have made a fine trophy on some sub captain's mantle.
                Don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years...

                Comment


                • #9
                  We carried nuclear tipped ASROC torpedos in 1970 and '72. They were intended for ASW use but with a max range of 5nm, no one was in any hurry to ever use one.
                  Skip

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                  • #10
                    Given that the US had a few Forestall class carriers in service a nuclear torpedo was about the only way a submarine of that era could have ensured its destruction. A spread of 4 to 6 torpedoes even if most or all hit the carrier would not have ensured its sinking or even it being sufficently damaged to stop air operations off it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                      Given that the US had a few Forestall class carriers in service a nuclear torpedo was about the only way a submarine of that era could have ensured its destruction. A spread of 4 to 6 torpedoes even if most or all hit the carrier would not have ensured its sinking or even it being sufficently damaged to stop air operations off it.
                      Really,were they that solid?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        When the U.S. tried to raise a nuke missile out bof the wreck of K-129 they found it had nuke torpedoes as well.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Russia's supercavitation torpedos were designed to carry nuke warheads and can travel over 200 knots.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here's a page for you eddie...

                            http://www.uss-buchanan-ddg14.org/Me...Sydney1985.htm

                            The nukes allegedly carried would have been torpedos.
                            Skip

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tigersqn View Post
                              Not sure about torpedoes, but the west definitely has nuclear depth charges.
                              We used to have atomic cannons, but they were soon dropped in favor of short range tactical missiles which were far more mobile then the huge heavy cannon.
                              The depth charges were likely dropped by ASW missiles so there would be a safe distance from the shock wave that would destroy the sub without actually hitting it. Otherwise, the shock wave could be just as damaging to the surface ship that used it.

                              The torpedo would be used against convoys or task forces as a hit would vaporize the target ship and probably badly damage surrounding ships in the task force.

                              The big supercarriers would survive several hits with conventional torpedoes if one could get through the surrounding ASW screen set up to protect them from such an attack.

                              More dangerous are the anti ship sea skimming missiles. Traveling near the speed of sound skimming the surface, there would only be seconds between detection and taking them out before they hit their target. tactics dictate that you launch a salvo of them in order to saturate defensive countermeasures so some of them will reach their target.

                              The retaliation against what launched them would be quick and deadly.
                              “Breaking News,”

                              “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

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