The US Navy has awarded other transaction authority to Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop a new propulsion system for the MK 54 MOD 2 Advanced Lightweight Torpedo (ALWT).

For the $63.2m authority, the company will be responsible for the development of an advanced prototype stored chemical energy propulsion system (SCEPS) power plant and afterbody/tailcone that would be integrated into the ALWT.

The SCEPS will have the ability to improve the capabilities of the MK 54 torpedo.

Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president Eileen Drake said: “We have developed mission-critical propulsion and power systems for the US Navy for more than 60 years.

“Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world-class developer of high-performance propulsion systems and we look forward to applying our expertise to support the development of the Advanced Lightweight Torpedo.”

US surface ships, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters use the antisubmarine warfare weapon MK 54 lightweight torpedo.

Co-developed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and the US Navy, the Mark 54 can be deployed from a surface ship, helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft for tracking, classifying and attacking underwater targets.

It analyses the information, edits out false targets or countermeasures using sophisticated processing algorithms, and then pursues identified threats.

The MK 54 programme, which leverages latest torpedo technologies from the MK 50 and MK 48 advanced capability programmes, also makes use of the MK 46 warhead and propulsion subsystems.

The MK 54 is the next-generation of the MK 46 torpedo and can be incorporated into any modern navy with minimum conversion costs.

In March 2017, the US Navy awarded a contract to Aerojet to mature the demonstration capabilities of a power and energy management system for underwater unmanned vehicles (UUVs).