The US Navy (USN) has awarded Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) an $80.5m task order to deisgn and produce Mark (Mk) 710 Torpedo System Test Sets (TSTS).

According to US Naval Sea Systems Command, the Mk 710 TSTS is a test version of the Mk 48 torpedo that will be used by the USN and then Royal Australian Navy.

Over the next five years, this contract will see SAIC enhance the Navy’s capability to provide the submarine force with high quality, tested and validated Mk 48 heavyweight torpedoes.

Under this latest contract, SAIC will provide Mk 710 TSTS which will be used to test and validate the integrity and operational status of warshot MK 48 heavyweight torpedoes prior to delivery to the Navy.

The testing and validation of exercise torpedoes supports the training, tactics development and certification of torpedo upgrades for Navy.

Mk 48, which has advanced counter-countermeasure capabilities, serves as a highly effective and lethal weapon against anti-surface and anti-submarine threats in deep and shallow waters.

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The torpedo has a length of 5.8 metres and diameter of 53 centremetres, and can reach a maximum depth of 1,200 feet. It weighs 1,676 kilogrammes (kg) and carries a high explosive warhead of 292.5kg.

“SAIC looks forward to expanding our support to the Navy’s heavyweight torpedo programme,” said Barbara Supplee, executive vice president, Navy Business Group at SAIC. “This award further demonstrates the trust and confidence the Navy has placed on SAIC and our exceptional workforce’s heavyweight torpedo expertise.”

SAIC is an established supplier in supporting the USN’s heavyweight torpedo programme, providing Mk 48 heavyweight torpedo Afterbody Tailcone and fuel tanks for warshot and exercise torpedoes for Naval Sea Systems Command.

In support of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport, SAIC also handles testing and data collection for Mk 48 heavyweight torpedoes and Mk 54 lightweight torpedoes.

China has been testing the limits of the so-called rule-based order by illegally infringing in economic exclusion zones across the South China Sea. This has led to a greater need for maritime support in the Asia-Pacific region.

On the 24 February, 2023, the US Department of Defense awarded two contracts to support the Mk 48 Mod 7 Heavyweight Torpedo Programme.

One of them was awarded to SAIC for $102m to exercise options for the production, spares, production support material, engineering support and hardware repair of components for the Mk 48 all up round.