Torpedoes (also called "missiles" or (in specific cases) "nukes"), are powerful self-propelled weapons with an explosive warhead designed to detonate either on contact with its target or in proximity to it. They are the standard primary armament on all warships. They acquired this name based on marine-based submarines of an earlier era, but they are really just Missiles.
Torpedoes are long-range, guided missile delivery systems that can be fitted with conventional explosives, plasma bombs (which melt armor and damage systems), or nuclear warheads. They can accelerate far faster than a ship, are hard to dodge and cause devastating damage to a ship on contact.
Torpedoes have a minimum range (they are ineffective within a short distance from the launcher) so they are usually launched first in an engagement.
As is seen with the Canterbury's destruction, Torpedoes can have the side-effect of turning the "splashed" ship into a destructive field of moving debris, posing a further threat to any other ship in the immediate area. However, torpedoes are vulnerable to PDCs (Point Defense Cannons), which can intercept them before closing to effective range. This is countered by firing them in numbers to overwhelm the PDCs on an enemy ship.
When James Holden and several crewmates enter the Scopuli to investigate what happened to the ship, a Protogen stealth ship appears and fires nuclear torpedoes. While Holden thought at first that the missiles were intended for his group, he realized too late that they were meant for the Canterbury. The massive ship disintegrates in the blast killing everyone on board and turning the hulk into a deadly cloud of flying debris that nearly kills everyone on the Knight shuttle.
MCRN Donnager, when engaging a squadron of Stealth Ships, fired first with a swarm of torpedoes that takes out one of the six assailants. The remaining five attackers fire their own plasma torpedoes, one of which impacts and damages the Donnager's main drive. The two sides then enter the minimum range for torpedoes and finish the battle with Railguns and PDCs, and Donnager is boarded.
Following the outbreak of the Protomolecule on the Phoebe research station, the MCRN bombarded Phoebe with nuclear torpedoes, turning the small ice moon into a cloud of fine debris that then fell into Saturn's gravity. The firing of the nukes heightened the tension between the UN and MCR which had already been near the boiling point for a long time.
- A true torpedo is currently defined as "a cigar-shaped self-propelled underwater missile designed to be fired from a ship or submarine or dropped into the water from an aircraft and to explode on reaching a target."
- Most ships deploy torpedoes by expelling them from a tube or silo at the front of the ship. Stealth ships, however, open a hatch and briefly deploy them out the starboard side before they engage their target.