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US Navy SUBROC missile replacement program

Pioneer

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In the 1980’s I believe that the US Navy were working on a new submarine-launched Anti-Submarine missile, as a SUBROC replacement – ‘Sea Lance’ I think was the projects name. Unfortunately, I think it was canned with the end of the Cold War!
Yet the SUBROC was withdrawn, without a replacement.
Does anyone have any info on this project?




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Pioneer
 

sferrin

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http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-125.html
 

sferrin

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I'm surprised there's no thread for the RUM/UUM-125 Sea Lance. Well, this was apparently McDonnell Douglas' competitor to it.
 

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RLBH

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An air-breathing ASALM derivative? That makes a lot of sense, actually. Always seemed odd to use a ballistic rocket to reach the 3rd convergence zone, no scope for refining the course as the missile's in flight - and with a flight time of several minutes, that could be significant.
 

Rickshaw

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I rather think the point of using a nuke warhead was because it didn't really need much fine tuning in flight to destroy the target.
 

TomS

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Yep, all tactical nuclear weapons were withdrawn from US Naval forces around 1991.
 

sferrin

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I wonder if they could do something like modify a Tomahawk with a torpedo up front and some mini-sonobouys? Just enough to refine the position. (Not loiter.)
 

Moose

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sferrin said:
I wonder if they could do something like modify a Tomahawk with a torpedo up front and some mini-sonobouys? Just enough to refine the position. (Not loiter.)
The TLAM was designed with a fairly compact payload section, stretching it just to accommodate a MK54 would make the weapon too long for a VLS cell. We could dramatically redesign the weapon from the midbody forward, but to what point? If a ship or submarine is shooting at a submarine they can detect, speed is vastly more important than excess range. If the target is beyond a ship or submarine's detection range, it will be tracked and attacked by aircraft.
 

sferrin

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Moose said:
sferrin said:
I wonder if they could do something like modify a Tomahawk with a torpedo up front and some mini-sonobouys? Just enough to refine the position. (Not loiter.)
The TLAM was designed with a fairly compact payload section, stretching it just to accommodate a MK54 would make the weapon too long for a VLS cell. We could dramatically redesign the weapon from the midbody forward, but to what point? If a ship or submarine is shooting at a submarine they can detect, speed is vastly more important than excess range. If the target is beyond a ship or submarine's detection range, it will be tracked and attacked by aircraft.

Good point.
 

pathology_doc

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IIRC the British Ikara had a nuclear option (depth bomb), and being basically a radio controlled (expendable) aircraft it could take mid-course updates. Of course you can't fire that from a submarine, but seeing as Tomahawk was being discussed...
 

TomS

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GD did propose an ASW Tomahawk as an alternative to Sea Lance. My recollection is that it carried about 8 mini-sonobouys to relocalize the target after it flew out to the original contact. I can't definitely recall the warhead -- it might have been a nuclear only solution but I thought a torpedo was included. Bear in mind that they could trade a lot of range for payload, since you needed at most a hundred miles of fly-out and ten or fifteen minutes of loiter.
 

JFC Fuller

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A nuclear Ikara was planned (it helped shape the WE.177A requirement) but it was never actually implemented.
 

pathology_doc

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JFC Fuller said:
A nuclear Ikara was planned (it helped shape the WE.177A requirement) but it was never actually implemented.


I stand corrected. I had heard that the British ships' Ikara handling gear had to be built around the requirement to load or unload the NDB as required, which is why the Ikara Leanders have that gigantic pit replacing the 4.5" gun whereas the Australian River-class frigates all had a neat little fantail fitting and kept the gun (as did South American Ikara ships, e.g. the Branik system for Brazil). Thus I assumed Nuclear Ikara had actually reached the fleet.


I suspect another part of this was the peripheral buyers' requirement to keep their Ikara ships as general-purpose as possible (plus their lack of nukes) - a British Ikara Leander will almost certainly be operating with other escort vessels which retain a surface-warfare capacity, whereas smaller navies may not have that luxury. New Zealand did buy an Ikara Leander with the pit, but that was a second-hand RN ship if I remember rightly, and not new-construction for the RNZN. Any Kiwis here who can fill me in?
 

RLBH

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Kadija_Man said:
I rather think the point of using a nuke warhead was because it didn't really need much fine tuning in flight to destroy the target.
With a nuclear warhead yes, but Sea Lance would've had something like a third of the range with a torpedo rather than an NDB because of targeting difficulties. Since part of the point was to be able to engage towed array contacts quickly at long range, and lobbing nuclear weapons around never makes you popular, it would seem logical to consider the possibility.
 

moonbeamsts

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Greetings
As a former sonar on subs I think I can give a little insight on this. Our sensors could detect and track well out side torpedo range.
Many a time our airborne brethen could not find us with us,so broach fire a couole flares and give a long count on the radio.So much for Airborne ASW.
There is a need for a long range standoff rangeweapon. One thought have a guideance link sub to sat to bouy to torpedo.
JM
STS/SS/PO-1
 

Grey Havoc

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JFC Fuller said:
A nuclear Ikara was planned (it helped shape the WE.177A requirement) but it was never actually implemented.

That's actually incorrect; It was the M4-Minus follow-on that had it's nuclear option cancelled to save on costs (and possibly to expand the range of potential export orders). The M4-Minus itself was cancelled a few years later.
 
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