Mark 54 MAKO Lightweight Torpedo

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Mark 54 MAKO Lightweight Torpedo
WTUS PostWWII mk54 pic.jpg
Mark 54 Torpedo aboard the USS Ross (DDG-71) in March 2008.
TypeLightweight torpedo
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service2004–present
Used byUnited States Navy
Royal Australian Navy
Indian Navy
Royal Air Force
Royal Thai Navy
Production history
DesignerRaytheon Systems
Designed1999
Unit costUS$839,320 (FY2014)[1]
Produced2003
Specifications
Weight608 lb (276 kg)[2]
Length106.9 in (2.72 m)[2]
Diameter12.75 in (324 mm)[2]

WarheadPBXN-103
Warhead weight96.8 lb (43.9 kg)[2]
Blast yield238lb TNT

Enginereciprocating external combustion
PropellantOtto II (liquid)
Speed>40 kn (74.1 km/h; 46.0 mph)
Guidance
system
Active or passive/active Acoustic homing
Launch
platform
Mark 32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes, ASW Aircraft, RUM-139 VL-ASROC

The Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo (LHT) is a standard 12.75 inch (324 mm) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedo used by the United States Navy.

Development[edit]

The Mark 54 was co-developed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and the U.S. Navy under the U.S. Navy's Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo program in response to perceived problems with the extant Mark 50 and Mark 46 torpedoes. The Mk 50, having been developed to counter very high performance nuclear submarines such as the Soviet Alfa class, was seen as too expensive to use against relatively slow conventional submarines. The older Mk 46, designed for open-ocean use, performed poorly in the littoral areas, where the Navy envisioned itself likely to operate in the future.

USS Roosevelt (DDG-80) launches a Mk 54 torpedo.

The Mk 54 was created by combining the homing portion of the Mk 50 and the warhead and propulsion sections of the Mk 46, improved for better performance in shallow water, and with the addition of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to further reduce costs. It shares much of the software and computer hardware of the Mk 48 ADCAP heavy torpedo, based around a custom PowerPC 603e chip.

Developmental testing began in July 1999, and a successful critical design review was completed in November 1999.

In April 2003, Raytheon was awarded a sole source contract for the production of the Mk 54. Full rate production began in October 2004. In March 2010 the Fifth Fleet requested improvements in the Mk 54's performance against diesel-electric submarines via an Urgent Operational Need Statement (UONS). This led to a software Block Upgrade (BUG) program which began testing in August 2011 and which continues, having been criticised by the DOT&E for using unrealistic proxies for threat submarines.[3]

The Mk 54 can be fired from surface ships via the Mark 32 surface vessel torpedo tubes or the vertical launch anti-submarine rocket (ASROC) systems, and also from most ASW aircraft, although they are slightly different lengths and weights. The P-8 Poseidon uses the High-Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapons Capability (HAAWWC) GPS-guided parachute kit to drop torpedoes from high altitude.

The FY14 DOT&E report assessed the Mk 54 (BUG) torpedo as not operationally effective in its intended role. "During operationally challenging and realistic scenarios, the Mk 54 (BUG) demonstrated below threshold performance and exhibited many of the same failure mechanisms observed during the FY 2004 initial operational testing". Shortfalls were also identified with the employing platforms’ tactics and tactical documentation, and interoperability problems with some platform fire control systems.[4]

Users[edit]

The Mark 54 is carried by the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. In October 2010, Australia ordered 200 more torpedoes.[5]

In June 2011, it was reported that India will get 32 Mk 54 All-Up-Round Lightweight Torpedoes and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $86 million through U.S. government's Foreign Military Sales program for P-8I LRMP.[6]

In January 2018 it was announced that the P-8 Poseidon aircraft to be operated by the RAF will carry the Mk 54.[7]

In early 2018 the U.S. State Department approved the sale of Mark 54 torpedoes to the Mexican Navy, who will deploy them from their new Sigma-class design frigates, the first of which is being jointly built with Dutch shipbuilding company Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding. [8]

In April 2018, the US State Department cleared the sale of an additional 30 Mark 54 torpedoes to the Mexican Navy, which may be carried on MH-60R helicopters, which the Mexican Navy plans to order in the near future.[9]

In August 2018 The Royal Netherlands Navy ordered a first batch of 106 upgrade kits to modify current Mk46 torpedoes to the Mk54 standard.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Senate Report 113-044 - NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2014". Library of Congress. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 150 Mk 54 cost $125.898m in financial year 2014
  2. ^ a b c d "Fact File: Mk54 Torpedo". US Navy. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
  3. ^ "Mk 54 Lightweight Torpedo" (PDF). Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). 2012.
  4. ^ "Mk 54 Lightweight Torpedo FY14" (PDF). Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). 2015.
  5. ^ "Team Torpedo: US Firms Sell & Support MK48s and MK54s". Defense Industry Daily. 2014-08-21. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
  6. ^ "US clears sale of anti-submarine torpedoes to Indian Navy". The Indian Express. 2011-06-28.
  7. ^ "Britain to Purchase Mk 54 Lightweight Torpedo array kits destined for P-8 Poseidon". UK Defence Journal. 2018-01-04.
  8. ^ http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales/mexico-harpoon-block-ii-missiles-ram-missiles-and-mk-54-torpedoes/ January 2018, Defense Security Cooperation Agency
  9. ^ https://thedefensepost.com/2018/04/20/us-approves-sale-mexico-mh-60r-seahawk-helicopters/ - April 2018, The Defense Post

External links[edit]