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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: Shuttle Retirement
Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 03:11:19 GMT

In article <>,
Derek Lyons <> wrote:
>...A silly idea, but the Navy was for the longest
>time extremely keen on tactical nukes.  (This lead to such *really*
>silly ideas as the Mk36 torpedo.)

Mk36 was a 1944 conventional-warhead design (abandoned after the war).
You're probably thinking of the Mk45, which was the ASTOR nuclear torpedo,
cynically claimed to be the only US weapon with a kill probability of 2.0
(the target and the launching submarine).  An unpopular weapon, all the
more so because it had no brains or sensors of its own and had to be
directed *and detonated* by the launching sub.

(The idea behind ASTOR was that it was looking difficult to make a single
torpedo both fast enough and quiet enough to home effectively on fast
targets like nuclear subs.  If you dispense with homing, then accuracy is
poor, but with a nuclear warhead you don't need to be terribly accurate.
Trouble is, you needed a fairly good idea of just where the target was,
*including* *its* *range*, to use ASTOR effectively... and that was not
good news to submariners who were then rapidly abandoning active sonar in
favor of entirely passive operation.)
The good old days                   |  Henry Spencer
weren't.                            |      (aka

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