BAE Spearfish missile

BAE Systems has been awarded a £270m contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to upgrade the UK Royal Navy’s Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

Called Spearfish Mod 1, the upgrade aims to extend the lifecycle and improve safety with an insensitive munitions warhead. It will also deploy a single fuel system and provide potential data links between the weapon system and the launching craft.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "This contract award is good news for the Royal Navy, the UK and the city of Portsmouth, where around 100 engineering jobs will be created or sustained."

Work under the contract will be performed at BAE’s Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth, with initial deliveries scheduled to begin in 2020 and run through to 2024.

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Currently integrated on the Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute-class submarines, the anti-submarine and anti-surface Spearfish torpedoes can be deployed in defensive and offensive circumstances.

"This contract award is good news for the Royal Navy, the UK and the city of Portsmouth."

The advanced design of the torpedoes will deliver maximum warhead effectiveness at high speed with enhanced manoeuvrability, together with low radiated noise, advanced homing and sophisticated tactical intelligence.

Capable of operating autonomously from the time of launch, they can also operate at variable speeds.

With its high-power density bespoke engine, the missiles can achieve exceptional sprint speed in the terminal stage of an attack.

BAE Systems UK Maritime Sector managing director John Hudson said: "Upgrading the Spearfish heavyweight torpedo will provide sophisticated advances for the Royal Navy, with increased operational advantage in the underwater domain."

Image: The UK Royal Navy’s Spearfish heavyweight torpedo. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.

Defence Technology