USA: Navy Tests First Aircraft Carrier Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo

George H.W. Bush and the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) PMS 415's Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) team conducted at-sea testing and data collection of the Rapid Prototype Torpedo Warning System (TWS) and Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo (CAT) system.

USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) conducted the first aircraft carrier-borne end-to-end at-sea test of the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) System, the Navy announced, June 6.

The SSTD System combines the passive detection capability of the Torpedo Warning System that not only finds torpedoes, but also classifies and tracks them, with the hard-kill capability of the Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo, an encapsulated miniature torpedo. The at-sea tests were conducted May 15-19.

The Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo is being developed by the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory (PSU-ARL). It is designed to locate, home in on and destroy hostile torpedoes. Over the four-day testing period, Bush engaged seven torpedo-like targets with seven Countermeasure Anti-Torpedoes. Designed to validate the end-to-end of the system, the testing proved successful.

 “These tests are a culmination of a very focused effort by the Navy including the program office, Bush’s crew, Norfolk Naval Shipyard and our academic and industrial partners. With all seven of our shots doing what they are designed and built to do, it validates our work and significantly enhances our current capabilities,” said Capt. Moises DelToro, the Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems program manager.

This first end-to-end test of the SSTD System achieved several firsts: the first Torpedo Warning System detection of targets from a carrier, the first automatic detection and automatic targeting of an incoming torpedo target from a ship, the first launch of Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo from a carrier and the first end to end Torpedo Warning System and Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo system detection-to-engage at-sea test.

 “It is gratifying to have these tests go so well,” said Rear Adm. David Johnson, program executive officer, Submarines, whose portfolio includes the Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems Program Office. “The engineering involved to detect a hostile torpedo, process its direction, speed, depth, and then engage it with a carrier-launched Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo is impressive. I am confident that the fleet will be pleased with the results.”

Given the complexity of the system, the program office is taking an incremental approach to the development and acquisition of the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System.

 “What is currently aboard Bush is an engineering development model, or EDM, that is a fully-functioning system, but not the final configuration or production model,” DelToro said. “We’re learning from the Bush to improve the system so we can provide the most robust and cost-effective hard-kill anti-torpedo capability possible.”

The Navy currently plans to equip all aircraft carriers and other high-value units with the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense system by 2035.

Press Release, June 7, 2013; Image: US Navy

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