Weapon Alpha

Weapon Alpha

Weapon Alpha (originally "Weapon Able", officially RUR-4) was an ahead-throwing ASW rocket launcher.

Similar to the earlier American Mousetrap, 375mm (14.8") Swedish Bofors, and 250mm (9.8") and 300mm (11.8") Soviet systems, all of which use multiple rockets, Weapon Alpha was developed toward the end of World War II, in response to the German Type XXI U-boat. Begun in a crash program in 1944-5 and put in service before undergoing operational evaluation, it emerged in 1950 as a 227kg (500pd) 127mm (5") rocket with a 113kg (250pd) warhead that sank at 12m/s (40ft/s) (compared to a depth charge, which sank at between 2.7-5m/s {8.9-16.5ft/s} [Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "Depth Charge", in "Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Weapons and Warfare" (London: Phoebus Publishing Co, 1978), Volume 7, p.730.] ), an influence or time pistol, and a range of 360-730m (400-800yd). Coupled to the new SQG-1 depth-finding sonar (for setting the time fuse, rather than the hydrostatic pistol of a depth charge), it was to be fired from a revolving Mark 108 launcher (with 22 rounds of ready ammunition) at up to twelve rounds "per" minute. The ready-service magazine could not be reloaded while Weapon Alpha was in use.

Large, complex, expensive, and unreliable, Weapon Alpha was made obsolete by Soviet Navy submarines (such as Whiskey, with data taken from the Type XXI) developing as a threat more slowly than expected. Hedgehog was substituted, instead.



*Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Weapons and Warfare" (London: Phoebus Publishing Co, 1978), "Weapon Alpha", Volume 24, p.2589.
*__________. "Mousetrap", "ibid.", Volume 19, pp.1946-7.

*__________. "Depth Charge", "ibid.", Volume 7, p.730.

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