Sting Ray torpedo

Sting Ray Torpedo

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Sting Ray torpedo

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The Sting Ray torpedo is a current British acoustic homing light-weight torpedo (LWT) manufactured by GEC-Marconi, who were later bought out by BAE Systems. It entered service in 1983.

Design and development

The early 1960s concept was to provide the Royal Navy with a British-built torpedo to replace the imported Mk 44 and Mk 46 US weapons. In the 1950s the Royal Navy was equipped with British designed and built Mk 30 air-dropped torpedoes. These were passive homing weapons which relied on detecting the noise from submarine targets. However, as submarine noise levels reduced, these weapons became ineffective. Nuclear submarines could easily out-run and out-dive the Mk 30.

A design for a British Mk 31 torpedo, which would have used active echo-location sonar, failed to receive Government approval for production and US Mk 44 torpedoes were purchased for the Royal Navy in the 1960s. These were later replaced by US Mk 46 torpedoes.


A desire not to be dependent on US torpedo purchases led to a research programme starting in 1964 to develop a British torpedo. Initially designated Naval and Air Staff Requirement (NASR) 7511, it was subsequently designated the Sting Ray torpedo.

Design studies in the mid-1960s proposed that a tank of polyethylene oxide be carried behind the warhead. This polymer would be exuded at the nose to reduce the drag coefficient. Experiments using buoyancy-propelled torpedoes in 1969 had shown reductions in the drag coefficient up to 25%. However,...
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