A prototype of BAE Systems’ 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.
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 £270m upgrade contract has created 30 new roles.
Image: BAE Systems