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Mk 44 Torpedo

The Mk 44 torpedo is an active homing torpedo using a salt water-activated electric battery. Mk-44 Mod 0 was designed to be launched from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Once in the water, the torpedo would begin a spiral search pattern for target acquisition. The Mod 1/2 were designed to be launched from surface combatants, and thus were programmed to weave away from its launch ship and begin spiraling a safe distance away. Although widely used around the world, it has been withdrawn from service in the US Navy. The Mk 44 also formed the warhead of the UUM-44A SUBROC anti-submarine missile, withdrawn from service in 1990. The UUM-44A could also carry the MK 46 torpedo.

The Mk 44 was a second-generation, lightweight Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) torpedo and the first in US Navy service with a seawater-activated battery as a power source. This torpedo, the replacement for Torpedo Mk 43, had improvements in speed, warhead size, acoustic homing capabilities, and prelaunch-selectable search parameters. The Mk 44 was developed by the Naval Ordnance Test Station, Pasadena, California, and the Aeronautical and Ordnance Systems Division of the General Electric Company, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Production was started in 1957 at GE, and in succeeding years at the Naval Ordnance Plant, Forest Park, Illinois, and at the American Machine and Foundry Company, Buffalo, New York. The Torpedo Mk 44 was used in service on U.S. destroyers and aircraft as an ASW weapon for about ten years until it was replaced by Torpedo Mk 46. In addition to being purchased by foreign governments under the Military Assistance Program, the Mk 44 torpedo was produced in Europe by NATO countries.




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