The Rat Attack! 1958 edition

The below drawing shows the use of the U.S. Navy’s latest anti-submarine weapon a rocket-assisted torpedo or “RAT,” which incorporated a rocket for the initial launch, a stabilizer pack with a parachute to slow missile for proper water-entry speed, and finally, a sound operated homing torpedo, all held together by an airframe.

NHHC 330-PS-8786 (USN 710060).  The photograph was released on February 10, 1958.

According to the caption of the project graphic:

Propelled by a rocket motor the “RAT” is launching skyward, and dropped accurately to the surface in the vicinity of an enemy submarine. After dropping the airframe, “RAT” uses a parachute and goes beneath the surface, sheds its torpedo and nose cap, and by sound seeks out and destroys the target. “RAT” can be installed in the majority of U.S. destroyers at relatively low cost by utilizing existing five-inch gun mounts and by a slight modification of search and fire-control systems now in use. No additional personnel are required to handle the missile which is 13 ½ feet long and weighs only 480 pounds.

When fielded, of course, RAT, in its third (Charlie) generation, ballooned up to become the 1,073-pound RUR-5 ASROC, for Anti-Submarine Rocket, an acronym the brass probably thought was a better idea when talking to Congress for money.

ASROC Anti-Submarine Rocket at IOC. “Ready for loading into a launcher aboard the destroyer leader USS Norfolk (DL-1) during the weapon evaluation test at Key West Florida. ASROC was developed by the Naval ordnance test station, China Lake and Pasadena California, with the Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company as prime contractor, 24 June 1960.” USN 710732

The original GMLS and Matchbox-launched ASROC was pulled from service in the 1990s with the needless slaughter of the fleet’s steam-powered cruisers and Spruance-class destroyers, replaced by the more advanced (and VLS-compatible) RUM-139 VL-ASROC, which today carries an Mk.54 ASW torpedo to an undisclosed distance “over 10 miles.”

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