The Raytheon company has announced that the MK54 lightweight torpedo has
officially entered full rate production following successful technical and
operational evaluations and the US Navy's authorization of initial operational
capability (IOC) for introduction to the fleet.
The Mark 54 torpedo is the result of close cooperation between the US Navy and
Raytheon to develop the next generation anti-submarine warfare weapon deployable
from surface ships, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. MK 54 is enabled to
track, identify, classify and attack underwater targets such as submarines using
sophisticated processing algorithms.
Warfare scenarios suitable for the MK54 torpedo include both deep water or
open ocean and littoral environments, making it the only lightweight torpedo
capable of striking any target in the world's oceans, regardless of water depth.
As of October 2004, Raytheon is under a potential $500 million contract awarded
in June this year to produce 51 MK54 lightweight torpedoes as well as associated
services. Work will be performed at Raytheon's Torpedo and Readiness Center at
US Naval base in Keyport, Washington, and at the Naval Integration Center in
Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
The MK54 lightweight torpedo is an affordable weapon intended to replace the
aging MK46 and MK50 torpedoes which have demonstrated to be ineffective and
expensive by modern standards. MK54 was developed under the US Navy's Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo (LHT) program.
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