Display location: Museum rocket garden
Type: Anti-submarine guided missile
Payload: Conventional or nuclear warhead
Agency: U.S. Navy
Contractor: Goodyear Aero Space Corporation
The Subroc missile was a submarine-launched, inertial-guided nuclear depth charge intended to destroy enemy submarines at long ranges. Sometimes referred to as a "flying torpedo", the missile itself was part of a specialized fire control system that launched the Subroc.
Development of the Subroc began in 1958 under the direction of the Bureau of Naval Weapons and the Bureau of Ships. The Naval Ordnance Laboratory was given the challenging assignment of technical direction of the project. A major engineering hurdle the design team had to deal with was creating a missile that would fit the length and diameter of a conventional submarine torpedo tube.
Subroc became the first tactical missile weapon designed to be used in an underwater-to-underwater attack. It combined the surprise of a torpedo with the speed, range and accuracy of a missile. Once ejected from a torpedo tube and after reaching a safe distance from the host submarine, the solid-fueled rocket motor of the Subroc ignited. The missile pitched upward, blasted from the sea and flew at supersonic speed toward its target.
As the Subroc approached the area where its target submarine was located, a warhead was dropped and the missile impacted into the sea. The warhead sank to a pre-determined depth and detonated, destroying an enemy submarine before it had time to take evasive action.