The world’s most advanced torpedo is on the cusp of entering service with the Royal Navy after extensive trials in Scotland.
The upgraded Spearfish – the principal weapon of the UK’s Submarine Flotilla against enemy ships and submarines – was ‘fired’ repeatedly at frigate HMS Sutherland as scientists, engineers and sailors study its performance.
Over four days on special ranges near the Kyle of Lochalsh, the improved weapon was put through its paces, testing both software and hardware enhancements – while the Plymouth-based frigate did its utmost to fend off the torpedo’s attacks.
Spearfish has been the Silent Service’s weapon of choice since the early 1990s, though it has never been fired in anger.
The warhead is a good six times more powerful than that carried by the smaller Sting Ray torpedo, fired by ships like Sutherland or launched from Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.
It can break the back of frigates, destroyers and similar-sized warships, and take out any underwater threats.