The US Navy has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to develop torpedoes with a greater range, thus potentially enabling a modern brand of underwater warfare.
The Navy seeks longer-range torpedoes as share of a greater strategy to maintain submarines further away from potential targets while a third party, such as a P-8 Poseidon aircraft, provides targeting data, Brian Clark of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments told Defense News Wednesday.
“If you can extend that range to 50 or more miles, you can attack submarines without your sub having to hold that target organically with its sensors,” Clark, an analyst and former submarine officer, said. Firing at a target 50 miles away would not necessarily give away the location of the submarine, facilitating the goal of remaining out of sight.
By capitalizing on this method, submarines could serve as a submerged platform loaded with a lot of weapons — and net the most out of those weapons. “If you bear 30 torpedoes on board, you may only bear one or two targets within range of your sensors and weapons,” the analyst noted.
The concept is to adopt tactics the surface Navy is developing. For instance, the US is developing techniques to monitor aerial conditions for ballistic missile launches. The concept being developed by the surface Navy is to bear an F-35 or E-2D collect and relay murder-quality data to the surface ship, which would then seek to neutralize a hostile asset with long-range missiles.
In order to accomplish the modern underwater warfare tactic, to delegate target-tracking duties to third-parties instead of the sub itself, the Office of Naval Research gave Aerojet Rocketdyne about $2.6 million on Tuesday to develop more efficient engines for the ticket-48 torpedo that travel further on the same amount of the Navy’s standard Otto fuel propellant, Defense News reported.