The U.S. Navy will be developing a new type of torpedo for its naval vessels. It was in 1990 when the latest prototype was released, and a new one is needed.
In January 2020, the first call for proposals to build a new torpedo with different specs will differ from one developed in the 1990s.
New Type Lightweight Torpedo in Development for Naval Vessels
Northrop Grumman is one of them to join in the proposals for compact rapid attack weapons or smaller torpedoes. The prototype is at Pennsylvania State University's Applied Research Laboratory to be the basis of the designs, reported National Defense Magazine.
According to Dave Allen of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, building it ground up will be new from advanced electronics and advanced computing that will increase the lethality of the proposed light torpedo. A departure from current torpedoes used by the U.S. Navy.
One of the features of the new torpedo will be loading software into it. It gains either offensive or defensive functions when it goes active and seeks out a target.
The acronym is a compact rapid attack weapon (CRAW) geared to seek and destroy a target. Unlike current versions, the countermeasure anti-torpedo (CAT) is used to destroy torpedoes targeting U.S. navy ships or subs.
Its concept of a rapidly deployed light torpedo either attack (CRAW) or defends (CAT) depends on the software load at the time of launching. The versatility of use and its advantages offers surface naval tonnage plus submarines is revolutionary, added Allen.
The torpedo design by Penn State is initially as a defense weapon that is used by aircraft carriers as a defensive screen to kill oncoming torpedoes. Its development is canceled, with some air carriers still armed with it. It was revealed by David Portner, manager for the light torpedo development (Northrop Grumman), that changes in the program have been made.
The size makes it different from the existing Mark 54 [lightweight] torpedo, but a third of it. Significantly lighter at 600 pounds than the Mark 54.
Space is crucial for weapon storage that the submarine force needs to address. With this weapon in service that will have more torpedoes in storage, using six-inch launcher devices is optional. A bigger weapons load will benefit a submarine in sinking and attacking ships with a more extensive arsenal.
More benefits are seen if anti-submarine warfare aircraft will have a larger payload of torpedoes for attack or defense. The Navy will be a force to be reckoned with programmable light torpedoes.
Portner said that naval aviators are interested in the weapon's lighter weight, allowing anti-sub aircraft to have the range and endurance for missions if the ASWS has range and endurance to carry out tasks better, Portner.
Another use of the lighter torpedo is for unmanned surface or underwater vehicles in the pipeline. Smaller and lighter torpedoes can be mounted on smaller platforms.
According to the Navy, opting for a transaction authority agreement to complete the program will become large scale manufacturing in time as a transition.
He added the transition design duration would be three years long; by 2024, the new type lightweight torpedo will be produced in numbers.