The U.S. Navy this fall exercised the first option of a contract awarded last year to Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business unit for production of Mk-54 lightweight antisubmarine (ASW) torpedo kits. The option, valued at $45.3 million, funds the second year of the five-year award. The company now is delivering kits under the first-year buy.
Arleigh Burke–class destroyers, Ticonderoga-class cruisers, and Oliver Hazard Perry–class frigates now are armed with the Mk-54, which can be launched both from Mk-32 torpedo tubes and the vertical-launch antisubmarine rocket system. The MH-60R multi-mission helicopter, which will operate from the Navy’s new Freedom and Independence classes of littoral combat ships and from other surface combatants and aircraft carriers, also will launch the Mk-54 as its primary ASW weapon.
In late 2011 the Navy successfully test-launched the Mk-54 over the Atlantic Test Range from the P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft, now being built by Boeing for the Navy, which plans to buy 117 units. The P-8A mission-computing and display system controlled the launch from an altitude of 500 feet.