A prototype of the next-generation Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo has successfully completed a first in-water trial at the Ministry of Defence operated British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre, on the west coast of Scotland.
The trial is part of a five-year programme to develop an upgrade to the Spearfish Mod-0 Heavyweight Torpedo, which is currently in service with the UK Royal Navy on the Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute Class submarines, also designed and built by BAE Systems.
The upgrade extends the life of the torpedo and improves safety through the introduction of an «insensitive munitions» warhead together with a single fuel system. The next generation Spearfish will also feature better data links between the weapon system and the launching vessel. This results in capability improvements as well as a reduction in through-life operating costs for the Royal Navy.
The recently completed trial included the launch of a prototype weapon from a chute frame, which demonstrated control in a range of manoeuvres and explored the performance of newly introduced capabilities. Submarine-launched trials are planned to start next year.
Les Gregory, Products & Training Services Director at BAE Systems, said: «This is an important step in demonstrating the enhanced capability of the Spearfish Mod-1 Heavyweight Torpedo, as well as generating the necessary performance data, which will inform the rest of the programme. The success of this trial is testament to the knowledge and experience we have gained over more than 35 years of torpedo development. It is also a reflection of our strong relationship with the customer and our supply chain».
Following the completion of this demonstration phase, existing Mod-0 Heavyweight Torpedoes will be upgraded by BAE Systems based at its Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth to the new mod-1 design with initial deliveries in 2020. Since its award in December 2014, the £270 million upgrade contract has created 30 new roles.
|Length||16.4 feet/5 m|
|Weight||<4,409 lbs/2,000 kg|
|Speed||61 knots/70 mph/113 km/h|
|Materials||Aluminium and Titanium|
Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo