British navy deploys anti-torpedo kit

LONDON, 27 January 2005. An innovative, U.K.-developed anti-torpedo system, which will protect British ships from underwater torpedo attack, has entered service with the Royal Navy.

LONDON, 27 January 2005. An innovative, U.K.-developed anti-torpedo system, which will protect British ships from underwater torpedo attack, has entered service with the Royal Navy.

SSTD will replace the existing Sonar 2070 system. SSTD is managed by the Torpedo Countermeasures Integrate Project Team, based at the Defence Procurement Agency, Abbey Wood, Bristol.

With careful project management, and the use of 'smart' procurement practices, the project is expected to beat its original estimated cost by around £5million.

Called Surface Ship Torpedo Defence (SSTD), the system includes highly sensitive acoustic sensors, which are towed some distance behind a ship and can identify and pin-point the location of an incoming torpedo.

Developed by Middlesex-based Ultra Electronics, SSTD will not only warn a ship's commanding officer of any incoming threat, but will also advise the best course of action, from manoeuvring the ship away from danger to deploying acoustic decoys -- also part of the SSTD system -- to lure a torpedo away from its original target.

The £65million SSTD project will see up to 65 Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels are being prepared to receive SSTD. Sixteen sets of the equipment are being procured which can be easily transferred between ships and will be fitted to appropriate vessels when they deploy on operations or exercise.

The first SSTD kit has been fitted to Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster.

"This is another wonderful example of U.K. engineering leading the way. We are now protecting our ships with the very best torpedo defences in the world -- and have been able to save around £5 million on the original estimated cost thanks to careful management and employing 'smart' procurement principles," said Lord Bach, Minister for Defence Procurement.

"Torpedo attack remains a significant threat to our vessels, particularly with the proliferation of quiet submarines around the world. This system is the very best of its kind and establishes U.K. industry as a world leader in this field of technology."

SSTD is expected to provide the fleet with protection from torpedo attack for the next 25 years.

Up to 65 RN ships and Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ships, ranging from frigates to Invincible class aircraft carriers and auxiliary oilers are to be fitted to receive SSTD with all equipment delivered over the next two years. The work is expected to take between three and four weeks per vessel and will be conducted at U.K. yards. For more information, see www.mod.uk or www.ultra-electronics.co.uk.

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