This talk has two goals. First is to give a technology "light" overview of some of the technical challenges and obstacles we overcame in the course of this development effort. Part of the need for going light on the technology is the classified nature of much of this program, and the other factor is just the time available. The second goal of this talk is to give students an insider view into the politics, personalities, and business realties of a large, federally funded, system development program. In particular what skills does an engineer need to be successful in addition to technical competence?
The Mk50 torpedo is an acoustic homing anti-submarine weapon. It is air dropped in the general location of a threat submarine, and it must acquire, pursue, and detonate its warhead on or near the submarine hull in a location that will be effective in stopping the submarine from completing its mission. The design problems I was responsible for were the engine control (making it respond to speed change commands quickly) and the overall guidance to impact at the desired location, and the desired attitude, for maximum warhead effectiveness.