Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

How Conspiracy Theories Get Started...

Last month, I wrote about this moonbat who had a new take on the "American submarine sank the Kursk" story. Basically, they had pictures of the Kursk in drydock that showed a round hole; they claimed that this was made by an American Mk 48 torpedo, which they say is designed "to melt cleanly through steel sheet due to a mechanism at its tip that combusts copper."

This weekend, Chapomatic picked up the ball from Curt at Chaotic Synaptic Activity with a discussion of what the Mk 48 torpedo actually does; he even has a kewl picture! This got me to thinking, and I think I know where the documentary-maker got his idea about what American torpedos do...

Meet the Mk 50 torpedo. Now, I don't know much about this torpedo (although I did participate in the first OpEval with it in late 1991 on the good ship Topeka, and as OOD conducted the first successful evasion with a little tactic that immediately became known as "The Kennedy Maneuver" on the boat... we were big Star Trek:TNG geeks)... anyway, back to my story. Near the bottom of the FAS article, it claims the Mk 50 has a "shaped charge"; now, a shaped charge would, in theory, make a hole in a submarine hull. The only thing is: Mk 50 torpedos are not carried on submarines! The reason they supposedly have a shaped charge is that this allows for hull-penetration with a smaller explosive charge; the reduced weight is important for an air-delivered weapon. If weight isn't a concern, though, I'd much rather have a warhead many times bigger that breaks the ship in half, rather than one that makes a little hole (potentially in a free-flood area).

Conclusion: The moonbat documentary maker found some airdale or skimmer who supposedly knew what a Mk 50 did, assumed the Mk 48 does the same thing, and told him about it. Supplemental conclusion: The documentary maker, and the Brit weapons expert who helped him, are both asshats.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The MK 50 program was initiated in 1974 with early operational testing [OT] conducted between 1986 and 1989...." That must be what they tested on us (Oly) back in '86.

RM1(SS) (ret)

6/06/2005 2:10 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Probably was; did the torps hit you? The ones Topeka worked with were "set to hit"; when one hit the hull, Control would ask all compartments where it hit, and everyone would answer up, "It hit right next to me!" (Torpedos hitting a steel hull are loud!)

6/06/2005 4:13 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Big warheads are necessary on an anti-ship torpedo, which the Mk50 is not. First, a CV is much larger than a sub, so a weapon the size of a Mk50 would be a pinprick. Second, against a submarine, particularly one at depth, pressure is on the attackers side. A four-inch hole at 400ft is an unrecoverable casualty because of the water pressure. Not so with a ship. It would make a hell of a mess, but it probably wouldn't put us out of action.

6/06/2005 8:52 PM

Blogger Lubber's Line said...

Joel, I'm surprised the asshats weren't saying it was a MK 45 torpedo. Of course the Mk 45 was retired in the 1970's and the hole would have been much bigger.

6/06/2005 8:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did 3 years on a boomer very early in my career and later in my career I was in the only group of sailors that went to factory training on the MK50. I can't comment specifically on the MK50 warhead, but I will say that it does not work in the same way as the MK48 torpedo warhead. As for cutting through copper, that is really confusing because as far as I know submarine hulls are made of HY 80 (or higher?) steel, not copper. The MK 50 torpedo does use a closed cycle lithium boiler for propulsion and the navy did develop a unique way of combating a lithium fire. Fine particles of copper (much like PKP) are sprayed onto the lithium fire and form a crust that dissipates away the heat of the fire, thus extinguishing it. I was told the navy actually got a patent for this and that it would also work on such fires as magnesium. Maybe this is where the Brit “expert” got the bit about the copper. TMC(SW)

6/07/2005 6:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bubblehead -

We were at CFMETR Nanoose Bay for the test. They shot one at us set to hit; it hit outboard the XO's stateroom and bounced back along the hull, hitting at four or five more spots. We were the only 688 to have SHT at the time, and each hit tore up two or three tiles, which had to be replaced when we reached Pearl - kind of stupid to use us, I thought. 8)

RM1(SS) (ret)

6/07/2005 6:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The million dollar question: if it wasn't a torpedo then what was it that created the depression & hole in the Kursk's outer (stealth) hull? It wasn't part of the salvage operation.

2/07/2006 7:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that all (both) current Royal Navy Torpedoes have shaped-charge warheads.
Stingray has a small shaped charge warhead, by which is meant something with about twice the penetrating power of a Maverick (when it is a shaped charge).

Spearfish has a bloody huge shaped charge, which I think would satisfy even you.

Both weapons select specific parts of the target and aim to put the penetrating jet through the control room.

In WW2, rockets used by RAF to hunt U-Boats with had armour-piercing shot in place of warhead. Initially, same as 25lb gun, afterwards, had flat-point. These would fly straight for many feet underwater, and could pierce hull of boat at periscope depth.

RAF Mosquito variant for sub-hunting had 57mm (6lb) gun with powered magazine. This was used with armour piercing shot for subs, and an ill-advised Ju88 that got in the way.

All you need to kill a submarine, is a hole. Rocket with the 25lb AP shot (actually weighed 20lb for higher muzzle velocity from gun) would follow the armour-piercing shot through the hole.

I presume that the shot and rocket motor would bounce around inside the submarine.

12/20/2007 10:03 AM

Anonymous гид в барселоне said...

Well, I don't actually consider this is likely to have success.

12/06/2011 9:21 AM


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