ASROC (for Anti-Submarine Rocket) is an
all-weather, all sea-conditions anti-submarine missile system.
After a surface ship, patrol plane or anti-submarine helicopter detects an
enemy submarine by using sonar and/or other sensors, it could relay the sub's
position to an ASROC-equipped ship for attack. The attacking ship would then
fire an ASROC missile carrying an acoustic homing torpedo or a Nuclear Depth
Bomb (NDB) onto an unguided ballistic trajectory toward the target. At a
pre-determined point on the missile's trajectory, the payload separates from
the missile and deploys a parachute to permit splashdown and water entry at a
low speed and with minimum detectable noise. The water entry activates the
torpedo, which is guided by its own sonar system, and homes in on the target
using either active sonar or passive sonar.
In cases where the ASROC missile carried an NDB, the unguided bomb would sink
quickly to a predetermined depth where it would detonate. The nuclear-armed
ASROC was never used beyond one or two tests in 1961-62. Eventually the
Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty banning underwater nuclear tests went into
effect. The nuclear weapon was never used in combat. An ASROC missile could
hypothetically carry a 10 kiloton W44 nuclear warhead, although the W44-armed
nuclear weapons were retired by 1989, and all types of nuclear depth bombs
were removed from deployment.
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
The thirty-one U.S. Navy Spruance-class destroyers were all built in the
shipyard with the Mark 112 ASROC launcher and reload system. These had one
16 octuple ASROC launcher, located immediately above a reload
system holding an additional 16 assembled rounds (two complete reloads of
eight missiles apiece). Thus, each Spruance-class destroyer originally
carried a total of 24 ASROC.
Most other U.S. Navy and allied navy destroyers, destroyer escorts, frigates,
and several different classes of cruisers only carried the one ASROC 'matchbox'
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.
Ships with the Mk
26 GMLS, and late marks of the Mk
10 GMLS aboard the "Belknap"-class, could accommodate ASROC
in these power-loaded launchers (the Mk
13 GMLS was not able to fire the weapon, as the launcher rail was
Most Spruance-class destroyers were later modified to include the Mk 41
VLS, these launchers are capable of carrying a mixture of the
VL-ASROC, the Tomahawk TLAM, and other missiles. All of the Spruance
destroyers carried two separate quad Harpoon launchers. Other US ships with
the Mk 41 can also accommodate VL-ASROC.
Weight: 1073 lb (488 kilograms)
Length: 14,75 feet (4,5 meters)
Diameter: 16,6 inches (42,2 centimeters)
Warhead: Mk-46 Torpedo
Propulsion: solid fuel rocket
Operational Range: 12 nmi (22 kilometers)
Launching platform: Mk-16 box-launcher, Mk-10 missile launcher, Mk-26 missile launcher
Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Pakistan,
Spain, Taiwan, Turkey.