The UK Royal Navy's (RN's) Spearfish Mod 0 heavyweight torpedo will be improved to the Spearfish Mod 1 standard, it was announced on 15 December.
The Spearfish Upgrade (SFU) programme, while re-using the existing hull and thermal propulsion system from Spearfish Mod 0, is designed to address the need for incremental improvements in safety, remove obsolescence, and enable through-life cost reduction.
In total, the demonstration and full manufacture contract between the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems Maritime Services for the Spearfish upgrade is worth GBP270 million (USD424 million).
Entering service in 1994, the current Spearfish Mod 0 heavyweight torpedo equips all RN submarines, providing them with a capability against submarine and surface targets.
Specific aspects of the upgrade include the introduction of a full digital weapon architecture, replacement of the current copper/cadmium wire guidance link with a fibre-optic system, and the replacement of the existing warhead with an insensitive munition (IM) compliant warhead. In addition, the Mod 1 weapon will transition to a single fuel propulsion system that will offer cost and safety benefits over the current dual-fuel (HAP-Otto) system.
The contract also ensures the sustainment of the UK's torpedo manufacturing capability at BAE Systems' Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth through to the mid-2020s, and underpins plans to maintain Spearfish in RN service beyond 2050.
Initial deliveries of Spearfish Mod 1 are scheduled to start in 2020 and will continue through to 2024. Key subcontractors for the SFU programme include MBDA TDW (responsible for IM warhead), Atlas Elektronik UK (fibre-optic guidance link and signal processing in the digital homing head), GE Intelligent Platforms (processing boards), and Altran (safety electronic unit).
UK contracts Spearfish torpedo upgrade - IHS Jane's 360