ASROC was 1 of 2 "new" weapon systems installed on FRAM Destroyers.

 As seen left, the USS OZBOURN (DD-846) (FRAM 1 Gearing Class) is firing its' ASROC from its' MK-112 ASROC launcher. With many built by the Diamond Match Company, the MK-112 ASROC launcher was referred to as the "Matchbox" ASROC launcher. What follows is a very detailed description and history of ASROC. 


Description: ASROC is a three stage, solid fuel rocket comprised of a rocket motor (MK 12), airframe assembly and a torpedo or depth bomb payload. Length was fifteen feet, missile diameter twelve inches, overall diameter with stabilizing fins thirty inches and weight approximately one thousand pounds.


    ASROC equipped ships located and tracked submarines with sonar. After target acquisition, data fed from the sonar to the fire control computer tracked the submarine course, range and speed and the ASROC was aimed accordingly. Upon firing the weapon, it flew to a pre determined splash point to deliver the torpedo or depth bomb payload. The torpedo payload was slowed for water entry by a parachute device and the torpedo transducer was protected at water entry by a frangible nose cap.


    Early in the 1950s the Naval Ordnance Test Station (N.O.T.S.) Pasadena, CA, demonstrated the feasibility of projecting a torpedo with a rocket motor to provide an ASW standoff capability for surface ships. This lead to the development of the Rocket Assisted Torpedo (RAT) which utilized a 5 gun mount barrel and the MK 43 Torpedo for surface ship standoff delivery. This program was carried through shipboard evaluation. In the mid 1950s the Naval Ordnance Laboratory at White Oak, MD conducted a study investigating several methods of delivering missile payloads beyond the range capability of RAT. Subsequently the Naval Oceans Systems Center (NOSC) San Diego and  N.O.T.S proposed an alternate system be developed called ASROC, and the RAT system developed was terminated.

    In April of 1956, N.O.T.S. received approval from the Bureau of Ordnance to initiate the development of ASROC and was assigned the role of Technical Director of the weapons system as well design agent of the missile including the adaptation kit, (depth charge less warhead) for the nuclear payload. In August of 1956 CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) promulgated Development Characteristic AS07101-1 which defined the requirement for both a nuclear payload  and conventional acoustic homing torpedo delivery capability. The MK 44 Torpedo that was under development at the time was selected as the interim torpedo payload to be eventually replaced by an improved torpedo.

      Minneapolis Honeywell Regulator Company was selected as the prime contractor with Librascope Division of General Precision selected as subcontractor for the fire control  group and the Armaments Division of Universal Match Corporation as subcontractor for the launcher group. The Naval Ordnance Plant, York, PA was selected as the development activity for the launcher power drives. The AN/SQS-23 Sonar, under development by Sangamo Electric for the Bureau of Ships was to be integrated into the ASROC system. The Los Alamos Laboratory was selected to develop the nuclear warhead with Sandia Corporation, Albuquerque, NM. Extensive development testing was conducted on the N.O.T.S. ranges at China Lake, Morris Dam and San Clemente Island. The Navy conducted both independent tests and joint tests with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) between 1956 and 1959.

    In April of 1959 the entire system was brought together and installed on the USS NORFOLK (DL-1)installation was complete on a FRAM 1 ship, followed closely by the first of the DDG 2 Class platforms. Installations continued at a rapid rate and the ASROC system population eventually grew to over 200 ships. 

    In 1961 the adaptation of  ASROC to the MK 10 (TEROC) Terrier Guided Missile Launching System was initiated and ASROC with the MK 17 Depth Charge payload obtained acceptance for service use. In 1962 a full scale service test of ASROC with the new MK 17 Depth Charge was successfully conducted and in 1963 the MK 114 Fire Control System, a follow on development to replace the MK 111 Fire Control Group was completed and accepted for service use. The MK 46 Mod 1 Torpedo was added as an ASROC payload in 1966 and by 1967 the evaluation of ASROC with the MK 10 Guided Missile Launching System was completed. 

    In 1975 the MK 116 Mod 0 Fire Control System and the ASSDROC MK 4 Weapon Handling System was accepted for service use on the DD 963 (SPRUANCE) class destroyers. In 1980 THE MK 116 Mod 1 Fire control System was accepted for service use and integration of ASROC into the MK 26 Guided Missile Launching System was completed. The last installation of ASROC was aboard the TICONDEROGA Class  USS THOMAS GATES (CG 51). The ASROC system was phased out of the U.S. Navy in the 1990s in favor of the MK 41 Vertical Launch System and the Vertical ASROC missile.

The Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation wishes to thank the "Old Sailor" for providing us with the above ASROC information and his continued assistance so we could  get it right! 

Thank you, so very much, Old Sailor!


Would you like to see what is involved in LOADING an ASROC Launcher?

Another Sailor...has written the loading protocol. Click on the ASROC at left to Go there! 


What was the Reliability of the predecessor to ASROC, as seen from a sailor's stand point?

Many have heard about the stories of the QH-50 DASH "that took off at a certain bearing.....and for all we know it is still flying......" BUT what of WEAPON ALPHA which preceded ASROC?

Here is a sailor's story of WHEN ALPHA went WRONG.....very WRONG! Click here or on the ASROC at left to read that story!




Helicopter Historical Foundation
P.O. Box 3838, Reno, Nevada USA 89505

Because of SPAM, we ask that you copy the below address into your mail program and send us your comments!

Email us at:

The name "Gyrodyne" in its stylized form above, is the Trademark of and owned by the Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation; unauthorized use is PROHIBITED by Federal Law.

All Photographs, technical specifications, and content are herein copyrighted and owned exclusively by Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation, unless otherwise stated.  All Rights Reserved 2013.

The Gyrodyne Helicopter Historical Foundation (GHHF) is a private foundation incorporated in the State of Nevada as a Non-profit organization. 

GHHF is dedicated to the advancement of the education and preservation of the history of the Ships, the Men and the Company that built, operated and flew the U.S. Navy's QH-50 Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH) System and to the preservation of the history of the U.S. Army's past use of DASH.
Your support will allow for that work to continue.