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Posted on Jun 15, 2004 in Stuff We Like

Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower

Armchair General

TORPEDOES AND MINES

There is an impressive array of Torpedoes and Mines in the museum, as can be seen from this selection of photos taken in the Torpedo Gallery.

This is a Spearfish Torpedo used since 1980 by the Royal Navy and of the type expected to be in use until at least 2025, although some of the details remain classified, so this display is not 100% accurate. The torpedo travels in excess of 60 knots and it is believed it is possible to destroy a complete warship with just one.

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Here’s a view of the Mine display. There are Ground mines (that lie on the seabed), floating mines, magnetic mines and limpet mines. The depot began producing mines in the late 19th century.

This is a cutaway view of a Mk1 Magnetic Mine as used from 1942. It had an induction coil that would detect the magnetic signature of an enemy ship ? you can see this running from the top to the bottom of the mine. There would usually be 500lb of explosive inside.

MODERN WEAPONS SYSTEMS

To round off our tour, here are some examples of the modern weapons systems on display at Explosion!

For starters, an array of missiles. From bottom left and going clockwise, they are as follows:

Sea Slug, complete with four massive booster rockets strapped to the nose. This is a surface-to-air missile that also has a limited surface-to-surface capability.

Red Top air-to-air heat-seeking missile.

Sidewinder AIM-9B air-to-air heat-seeking missile.

Sparrow AIM-7 medium range air-to-air guided missile.

Exocet missile (just on the edge of the picture)

Ikara long-Range Anti-Submarine Torpedo Delivery System.

Here’s a close-up of the Red Top.

And another of the Exocet sea-skimming missile used to great effect against the Royal Navy by the Argentines in the Falklands War of 1982.

And to round off, some nuclear weapons.

This is a WE177, a multi-role nuclear weapon that was used as a parachute-retarded bomb for use against enemy airfields, a nuclear depth charge and as a general nuclear weapon.

Lastly, the large device in the middle of this picture is a "Red Beard" 5 Kiloton Atomic weapon used between 1961 and 1971.

I would recommend a visit to "Explosion!". Although there’s not enough here to make it a full day trip, you can get a ticket discount if you buy one for "Explosion!" and the Royal Navy Submarine Museum which is just a couple of miles and a pleasant scenic walk away.

To view the complete set of images from my visit, go to the ACG image gallery here.

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A J Summersgill

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

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