It was a 1960s Western atomic armed torpedo. The Mark 45 anti-submarine torpedo, a.k.a. ASTOR, was a submarine-launched wire-guided nuclear torpedo designed by the United States Navy for use against high-speed, deep-diving, enemy submarines. The 19-inch (480 mm)-diameter torpedo was fitted with a W34 nuclear warhead. The need to maintain direct control over the warhead meant that a wire connection had to be maintained between the torpedo and submarine until detonation. Wire guidance systems were piggybacked onto this cable, and the torpedo had no homing capability. The design was completed in 1960, and 600 torpedoes were built between 1963 and 1976, when ASTOR was replaced by the Mark 48 torpedo.
Development of ASTOR was completed in 1960 and it entered service in 1963. Approximately 600 torpedoes were built by 1976, when the torpedo was replaced by the Mark 48 torpedo. The ASTORs were collected, fitted with conventional warheads and wake homing guidance systems, then sold to foreign navies as the Mark 45 Mod 1 Freedom Torpedo. It replaced the Mark 44 torpedo and was replaced by the Mark 48 torpedo.
This electrically propelled, 19-inch (480 mm)-diameter torpedo was 227 inches (5,800 mm) long and weighed 2,400 pounds (1,100 kg). The W34 nuclear warhead used in ASTOR had an explosive yield of 11 kilotons.
The requirement for positive control of nuclear warheads meant that ASTOR could only be detonated by a deliberate signal from the firing submarine, which necessitated a wire link. Because of this, the torpedo was only fitted with wire guidance systems (transmitted over the same link), and had no homing capability.
The torpedo had a range of 5 to 8 miles (8.0 to 12.9 km). By replacing the nuclear warhead and removing the wire guidance systems, the torpedo could be reconfigured for unguided launch against surface targets.
The W34 was an American nuclear bomb developed and deployed during the mid-1960s.
Dimensions of the W34 are 430 millimetres (17 in) diameter and 860 millimetres (34 in) long. The device core weighs 141 to 145 kilograms (311 to 320 lb) depending on model. Yield of the W34 was 11 kilotons.
The W34 was deployed in several applications: Mark 101 Lulu nuclear depth bomb, the Mark 45 ASTOR torpedo and the Mark 105 Hotpoint nuclear bomb.
The Mk 101 Lulu was manufactured from 1958, and deployed until final decommissioning in 1971. A total of 2,000 were produced. The Mark 45 ASTOR was produced from 1958 and used until 1976; 600 ASTOR were produced. The Mark 105 bomb was produced from 1958 until 1965, with 600 having been produced.
The design of the W34 has been described as identical to the fission primary of the B28 nuclear bomb by some sources. That would place it in the Python primary family of nuclear weapons. The dimensions and weight of the W34 are consistent with the W40 warhead, which is more solidly identified with the Python primary family of weapons.
Why it use a nuke
The idea behind the nuclear warheads in a torpedo was to create a much bigger and more powerful explosive blast with the aime of wiping out several enamy subs in a fleet\woolfpack with a single torpedo. Later analysis suggested that smaller, more accurate and faster torpedoes were more efficient and effective.