“Navy to Field First New Torpedo in Decades” –National Defense

Very Light Weight Torpedo

National Defense reports,

The Navy in January is expected to release a request for proposals to field its first completely new torpedo since the 1990s.

Northrop Grumman has announced its intention to enter the compact rapid attack weapon program, which will seek to find a manufacturer for the prototype of a lightweight torpedo developed at Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory.

This is a weapon we talked about earlier. In that report we learned that the Navy had a program of record to develop the weapon under the name Compact Rapid Attack Weapon (CRAW) in the FY2021 budget. The earlier post also includes a full description of the weapon.

In this new report we learn there is interest in the use of this weapon by the submarine community, the aviation community, and as a weapon for unmanned systems.

It can be used offensively or defensively as a countermeasure anti-torpedo (CAT).

Operators will be able to instantly load software into the weapon, giving it defensive or offensive capabilities shortly before being fired, he said.

“The only difference fundamentally between the defensive capability of the very lightweight torpedo, which is CAT and the offensive capability, which is CRAW, is the software that gets loaded onto the weapon at time of launch.”

If these can be used to destroy incoming torpedoes, we are going to want them on virtually every ship.

Might be helpful if the Coast Guard told the Navy they were interested in these as well.

7 thoughts on ““Navy to Field First New Torpedo in Decades” –National Defense

  1. Any new US torpedo should match the range, features, and speed of the British Spearfish torpedo. The Spearfish can travel 54km/29nmi at 80 kts! The US Navy should have bought Spearfish to complement their MK48 ADCAPS as Spearfish was fielded in 2004.

    With the use of supersonic, Hypersonic, Diesel-electric subs, UUV drones, and nuclear torpedoes, it makes sense to have a faster, deeper diving, and longer-range torpedo—that is if that is what the US Navy is seeking.

    • Spearfish is a heavyweight (not far off 2 tonnes) 21 inch torpedo designed exclusively for submarine launch. This programme is to develop a new LIGHTWEIGHT torpedo (as the article repeatedly states) and is unlikely to be more than a sixth of the size. It’s hardly feasible to match Spearfish’ performance!

      • This very light weight torpedo is going to be about 200 pounds, so about a third that of a Mk46 or Mk54 light weight ASW torpedo. Since the Spearfish is over two tons it is about 1/20 the weight of the Spearfish. They are intended for very different purposes.

        The Spearfish’s USN counterpart, the Mk48, has been updated significantly since its introduction 48 years ago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_48_torpedo#Sensors_and_improvements There is no official unclassified information on its current capabilities. It is still highly regarded and has been very successful in export, having been purchased by five navies other than the USN, including those of Canada and Australia. I don’t believe Spearfish has been exported, for whatever reason.

      • Your correct. My mistake in my reading as I had multiple screens open and was skimming other content. 🙂

        Good to hear that the US Navy is seeking RFPs for a LIGHTWEIGHT torpedo.

    • As others have said, this new torpedo is geared toward a very different niche than Spearfish.

      This should be a very lightweight, very flexible torpedo. There are plenty of use cases for such a weapon.

      Fielding this weapon would give the CG a much better chance of stopping a large ship that needs stopping.

      Chuck has discussed scenarios related to large freighters repeatedly on this blog.

      If this new torpedo works out, this could be a weapon the CG could reasonably use to better protect our shores and harbors from terrorists, rogue actors or even peers using asymmetric tactics.

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