British Royal Navy's HMS Westminster tests Sting Ray torpedo after completing refit


The British Royal Navy's Type 23 Duke-class frigate HMS Westminster has successfully tested the Sting Ray submarine-hunting torpedo following its two-year refit programme conducted by BAE Systems.

Sting Ray launchers use high pressure to drive the torpedo out of its tube before the small parachute deploys and reduces the speed of the weapon’s entry into the water.

A drogue-shaped parachute begins deploying as the 8ft 6in-long Sting Ray is pushed from its launcher, while the magazine-launched torpedo system on the capital vessel is deployed.

The Sting Ray torpedo can detect submarine activity by uncoiling its towed-array sonar, which is a 1,700m tail lined with underwater microphones, or hydrophones, that are usually wrapped around a huge drum behind the quarterdeck.

HMS Westminster weapon systems engineer Colin Howie said: “The firing of this torpedo system has been able to happen through hard work by a very able and determined team.

“It proves that working in partnership with civilians and other agencies, the Royal Navy is still a force to be reckoned with.”

"The Sting Ray torpedo can detect submarine activity by uncoiling its towed-array sonar, which is a 1,700m tail lined with underwater microphones."

The British acoustic homing light-weight torpedo includes a 100lb explosive charge that can travel through the water at more than 50mph.

A team of more than 800 people completed the refit of the navy’s HMS Westminster frigate in October last year at BAE Systems’ Portsmouth Naval Base.

The vessel conducted its first sea trials in January after completing one of the longest maintenance periods in its 24-year history.

Upgrade works included the installation of BAE Systems’ Artisan 3D radar, a Sea-Ceptor air defence weapon system and a renovated 4.5inch MK8 naval gun.


Image: UK Royal Navy’s HMS Westminster launches Sting Ray torpedo. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.