Another Kind of Artillery
The High-Velocity Aerial Rocket By BArrett tillmAn
Imagine you’re a fighter-bomber pilot entering combat in 1944. your combat raining has emphasized gunnery with some dive-bombing, but suddenly your Thunderbolt or Corsair or Avenger or Typhoon possesses the punch of a Navy destroyer’s broadside: half a dozen five-inch projectiles streaking toward an Axis target. Buck Rogers fantasy in the 1940s. The high-velocity aerial rocket (HVAR)
concept evolved during WW II, the result of
collaboration among the military, academia,
and industry. Originally inspired by British
experiments, in 1943, the U. S. Navy teamed
with California Institute of Technology to
produce a 3.25-inch diameter rocket motor
driving the weapon at nearly 1,200 fps. The
tempered steel warhead was designed to
penetrate the hulls of enemy submarines.
Deployment was achieved late that year
with the first U-boat kill attributed to rockets
in January 1944.