The Sting Ray torpedo
is a current British acoustic homing
(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,... Read More