Piczookery – ASROC

A port view of the guided missile cruiser USS LEAHY (CG 16) launching an RUR-5A ASROC anti-submarine rocket. Camera Operator: PHC T. AHLGRIM Date Shot: 7 Jan 1983

This is a shot of the old, out of service Mk112 ASROC launcher, commonly known as the “Matchbox” because many of them were built by Diamond Match Company. These launchers were phased out in the 1990s as Mk41 Vertical Launch System (VLS)-equipped ships began entering service. I don’t believe that any of these Matchbox launchers are still in service with the US Navy, though many other nations still utilize them.

Note the (empty) twin-armed Mk26 Mk10 missile launchers fore and aft. These, though totally cool, were also phased out as the VLS entered service. VLS also replaced Armored Box Launchers (no Mk designation for the ABLs?).

Close-up of the Mk112 launcher below:

An RGM-84 Harpoon missile is launched from an ASROC launcher aboard the Knox class frigate USS BADGER (FF-1071). Date Shot: 1 Jul 1980

Both pics from DVIC.

UPDATE: I had the missile launchers wrong. They’re Mk10s, not Mk26s. Thanks to the reader who straightened Murdoc out.


  1. Murdoc, I respectfully have to differ with you as to what type of launchers are on the ex-USS Leahy. Those are not MK-26 systems. The Leahy and her sister ships featured the MK-10 launcher system, originally carrying Terrier and Talos missles, later featuring the Standard-ER missle (you could really reach out and touch someone with that puppy). The MK-26 system was a later development that was implemented on the Kidd (DDG-993) class destroyers and the first five Ticonderoga (CG-47) class AEGIS cruisers. My own ship, the ex-USS Thomas S. Gates (CG-51) being the final hull of the class fitted with the MK-26 system prior to future hulls constructed with the MK-41 VLS system. You are right that the MK-26 could shoot ASROCs though. I took part in on and off-loading them several times.

  2. FC2 Welch: Oops. My bad. You know, I’m not sure that I knew the difference. If I ever did I certainly forgot it. Fixed, and thank-you very much. That’s the beauty of this format.