Surface Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapons- The US makes a misstep


While the US found Hedgehog sufficient during World War II, the advances in submarine technology at the end of the war such as air independent propulsion and high speed underwater hulls meant the Hedgehog would be incapable of coping with the future threat. And that threat was seen as a huge fleet of Soviet submarines.  Much of the surface fleet of the US Navy shifted to high speed specialized ASW platforms. And one of the key weapons seen as addressing the threat was a depth charge projector. The RUR-4, known as Weapon Able,* was, much like Limbo, tied into the ship’s sonar system to provide fire control.

Unlike Limbo, Weapon Able was overly complicated, and throughout its service had a reputation of being something of a maintenance nightmare.

While Weapon Able was mounted on quite a few ships, for the most part the Navy would soldier on with Hedgehog until it was replace by the next generation standoff weapons, the subject of our next post in the series.

*after the 1962 shift to an updated phonetic alphabet, it became known as Weapon Alpha.

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2 responses to “Surface Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapons- The US makes a misstep

  1. Well, it’s certainly not the first or last mistake the USN design teams came up with. That tradition goes back to Jefferson’s gunboats. And we still have more LCS to build, despite a decade of empirical data of that design’s unworthiness.

  2. Courtney was built with Weapon Alpha aboard. The mount went to the keel. After its removal in the 60s, no thought was given what would happen at the keel. The 3 ships of CORTRON 8 had an insurv inspection summer of ’73 and all three ships were found to have buckled keels where the Weapon Alpha supports had been previously. All three ships were declared unserviceable and ordered decommissioned in August ’73. After the Insurv none of the ships went to sea until we left for Norfolk in October ’73. The Yom Kippur War started just hours after we left Rota. We thought we would find ourselves headed back in, but, no, we were ordered to continue across the pond. We heard later the story that there was serious concern for the condition of the ships. I was never able to verify that.