Mk 13 missile launcher

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MK 13 Guided Missile Launching System
Tartar missile.jpg
A RIM-66 Standard missile mounted on the Mk 13 missile launcher aboard the French Navy frigate Cassard
Type Guided Missile Launching System
Place of origin United States of America
Service history
In service late 1960s to present
Used by United States Navy
Spanish Navy
Royal Australian Navy
French Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy
German Navy
Wars Cold War
Tanker War
Production history
Designed 1960s
Manufacturer FMC / United Defense / BAE
Variants Mk 22
Rate of fire 1 Standard missile every 10 seconds
1 Harpoon missile every 22 seconds[1]

The Mk 13 guided missile launching system (GMLS) is a single-arm missile launcher designed for use on frigates and other military vessels. Because of its distinctive single-armed design, the Mk 13 is often referred to as the "one-armed bandit."

The Mk 13 is equipped to fire the RIM-66 Standard, RGM-84 Harpoon, and RIM-24 Tartar missiles for anti-air and anti-ship defense, and is capable of firing the Standard at a rate of one every eight seconds.[2] Its 40-round magazine consists of two concentric rings of vertically stored missiles, 24 in the outer ring and 16 in the inner. Total capacity was reduced by 1 due to a requirement to carry a Guided Missile Training Round (GMTR) in order to test system functionality. In case of a fire, the system is equipped with magazine sprinkling, CO2 suppression and booster suppression. It is also equipped with a dud jettison function to eject a round overboard if it fails to fire.[1]


In the United States Navy, the Mk 13 launcher was most typically employed as part of the Mk74 Guided Missile Launch System, or the Mk92 Fire Control System. Though the launcher was original armament on U.S. Navy Perry-class frigates (and their derivatives), in order to save costs on an obsolete system, by 2004 all active U.S. Navy vessels have had the system removed.[3] It was also fitted on the French Cassard-class frigates, as well as the two Mitscher-class destroyers converted to DDGs, the last ten American Charles F. Adams class destroyers, the American California class cruisers, the German Lütjens class destroyers and Australian Perth class destroyers, Adelaide class frigates, and Royal Netherlands Navy Tromp-class frigates and Jacob van Heemskerck-class frigates.


The Mk 22 guided missile launching system (GMLS) is a variation of the Mk-13 launcher which has only the inner 16 round storage ring of the Mk-13 launcher.[2] It was deployed on US-designed, Baleares class Spanish frigates.[4] and US Navy Brooke class frigates. Another major difference is that on the Mk 22 the magazine is non-rotating. The launcher rotates over the desired missile and it is then hoisted onto the rail. On the Mk 13 the magazine rotates under the launcher.[5]



  1. ^ a b NAVEDTRA 14909 Gunner’s Mate 3 & 2 – Chapters 7 through 8 (1996) via Accessed May 11, 2014
  2. ^ a b United Defense (March 29, 1998). "mk13-gmls.pdf" (PDF). Federation of American Scientists Military Analysis Network. Retrieved April 15, 2007. 
  3. ^ Burgess, Richard R. (September 2003). "Guided Missiles Removed from Perry-class Frigates (Sea Services section: Northrop Grumman-Built DDG Mustin Commissioned in U.S. Pacific Fleet)". Sea Power (Washington, D.C.: Navy League of the United States) 46 (9): 34. ISSN 0199-1337. OCLC 3324011. Retrieved 2008-09-22.  (dead link)
  4. ^ Friedman, Norman, The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapons Systems 1997-1998, Page 419, USNI Press © 1997.
  5. ^ Gunner’s Mate 3 & 2 Chapter 5. USN. Accessed May 12, 2014.

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