The US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded a Phase I contract to technology manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne for the development of an advanced prototype torpedo propulsion system.
Aerojet is set to develop the solution under ONR’s Torpedo Advanced Propulsion System (TAPS) programme, which aims to help increase the engine efficiency of the navy’s MK48 submarine-launched heavyweight torpedo.
Aerojet Rocketdyne chief executive officer and president Eileen Drake said: “Aerojet Rocketdyne began developing torpedo propulsion systems in the early 1950s.
“We will carry this legacy forward as we develop the technologies needed to enhance the capability of the MK48, which is used by the US Navy on all classes of submarines as their most capable anti-submarine and anti-surface weapon.”
Phase I of the TAPS programme is focused on exploring opportunities for enhancing the efficiency of the MK48 torpedo’s Otto-fuelled engine.
The first phase of the development is valued at $2.6m and is scheduled to continue for up to two years with options.
Phase II of the programme, if awarded, is expected to involve the integrated full-scale testing of the system in an MK48 propulsion section.
The MK48 heavyweight torpedo weighs 3,520lb and can be used by all US Navy submarine classes as an anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare weapon.
The 21in-diameter system can travel at speeds exceeding 28k and has a range of more than five miles.