Sippican to improve shallow-water performance of MK 48 submarine-launched torpedo

BY JOHN KELLER

WASHINGTON-The U.S. Navy is asking Lockheed Martin Sippican in Marion, Mass., to build and deliver Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) functional item replacement (FIR) kits for the MK 48 Advanced Capability (ADCAP) MOD 7 heavyweight torpedo under terms of a $50.7 million contract.

The CBASS replacement kit consists of a guidance and control box, broadband analog sonar receiver, preamplifier, cable assemblies, and guidance and control materials. The kit will provide the MK 48 ADCAP torpedo with a wideband sonar and advanced broadband signal processing algorithms to enable the torpedo to attack targets effectively in noisy shallow waters and harbors.

The MK 48 ADCAP torpedo is the primary anti-submarine and anti-ship weapon for Los Angeles- and Virginia-class fast attack submarines, and built by the Raytheon Co. Integrated Defense Systems segment in Keyport, Wash.

The MK 48 ADCAP heavyweight torpedo is the submarine's key weapon for attacking surface ships and other submarines. The MK 48 is 19 feet long, weighs more than 3,500 pounds, and has advanced homing, wire guidance capabilities and a 660-pound high-explosive warhead. It is designed to kill fast, deep- diving nuclear submarines and high-performance surface ships.

Click to Enlarge
The Navy MK 48 heavyweight torpedo, depicted above, will receive technology upgrades to make the weapon even more effective in shallow waters.

The MOD 5 and MOD 6 are effective in deep water because of their improved guidance and low-noise propulsion, yet the underwater weapon had been found wanting in noisy shallow-water areas. To fill this gap, the U.S. Navy moved forward with the MOD 7 version by adding the CBASS to extend the heavy torpedo's sonar array into a broadband mode. Onboard signal processing upgrades make the torpedo more effective against countermeasures and extremely quiet diesel submarines operating in shallow coastal waters and harbors.

The MK 48 ADCAP Mod 7 CBASS torpedo, operational since 2006, is optimized for deep and littoral waters, and has advanced counter-countermeasure capabilities. Its development was the result of a joint development program with the Royal Australian Navy; it reached Initial Operational Capability in 2006. The CBASS replacement kit will improve performance in shallow water against the most quiet and dangerous enemy submarines. On the current contract, Lockheed Martin Sippican will do the work in Marion, Mass., and Akron, Ohio, and should be finished by May 2014.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Lockheed Martin Sippican at www.sippican.com.

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