RUR-4 Weapon Alpha

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"Weapon Alpha" redirects here. For the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name, see Guardian (Marvel Comics).
Weapon Alpha
USSNorfolkDL1.jpg
USS Norfolk (DL-1) was one of the few ships outfitted with Weapon Alpha. Two of the four mounts can be seen side-by-side forward of the bridge.
Type standoff anti-submarine rocket
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1951–1969
Used by United States Navy
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Production history
Designer Naval Ordnance Test Station
Designed 1946–1950
Specifications (Mark 1)
Weight 525 pounds (238 kg)
Length 8 feet 6 inches (2.6 m)
Diameter 12.75 inches (324 mm)
Warhead High explosive
Warhead weight 250 pounds (110 kg)
Detonation
mechanism
Depth charge

Engine 5.25 in (133 mm) rocket
Propellant Solid fuel
Operational
range
800 yards (730 m)
Speed 190 miles per hour (310 km/h)

The RUR-4 "Weapon Alpha" (originally Weapon Able) was an American naval ahead-throwing ASW rocket launcher. It was designed between 1946 to 1950 and was installed on warships from 1951 to 1969. It was designed to attack enemy submarines without requiring the attacking ship to be located directly above the submarine being attacked.

Similar to the earlier American Mousetrap, 375mm (14.8") Swedish Bofors, and 250mm (9.8") and 300mm (11.8") Soviet systems, all of which use multiple rockets, Weapon Alpha was developed toward the end of World War II, in response to the German Type XXI U-boat. Begun in a crash program in 1944–5 and put in service before undergoing operational evaluation, it emerged in 1950 as a 227-kg (500 lb) 127mm (5") rocket with a 113-kg (250 lb) warhead that sank at 12 m/s (40 ft/s) (compared to a depth charge, which sank at between 2.7–5 m/s {8.9–16.5 ft/s}[1]), an influence or time pistol, and a range of 360–730 m (400–800 yd). Coupled to the new SQG-1 depth-finding sonar (for setting the time fuse, rather than the hydrostatic pistol of a depth charge), it was to be fired from a revolving Mark 108 launcher (with 22 rounds of ready ammunition) at up to twelve rounds per minute. The ready-service magazine could not be reloaded while Weapon Alpha was in use.

Large, complex, expensive, and unreliable, Weapon Alpha was made obsolete by Soviet Navy submarines (such as the Whiskey-class) that incorporated design features of the advanced Type XXIs,[citation needed] and it was mainly replaced by the more reliable Hedgehog. Nonetheless, Weapon Alpha remained in service through the 1960s until supplanted by ASROC.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "Depth Charge", in Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus Publishing Co, 1978), Volume 7, p.730.

Sources[edit]

  • Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus Publishing Co, 1978), "Weapon Alpha", Volume 24, p. 2589.
  • Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus Publishing Co, 1978), "Mousetrap", Volume 19, pp. 1946-7.
  • Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus Publishing Co, 1978), "Depth Charge", Volume 7, p. 730.
  • Parsch, Andreas (2002). "NOTS RUR-4 Weapon Alpha". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. designation-systems.net. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  • DiGiulian, Tony Navweaps.com US ASW weapons page

See also[edit]