The Ministry of Defence has chosen the UK manufactured Sting Ray Torpedo as its future torpedo capability alongside continued use of the United States Navy Mk54 weapon on the RAF’s Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

According to a news release from the Royal Air Force, the programme to integrate Sting Ray Mod 1 on to Poseidon is now under way, and it will “give the UK a potent and sovereign torpedo capability, providing flexibility to the Poseidon fleet”.

“The RAF’s P-8 Poseidon is a multi-role maritime patrol aircraft, equipped with sensors and weapons systems for anti-submarine and surface warfare, as well as surveillance and search and rescue missions.

In-service with the Royal Navy, Sting Ray Mod 1 is capable of integration into surface and air platform mission systems. Sting Ray Mod 1 is an air-launched Anti-Submarine Warfare lightweight torpedo launched from frigates, helicopters, and maritime patrol aircraft against submarine targets of all types. It has sophisticated acoustic homing system and a highly accurate navigation system. The torpedo can detect, classify, and attack targets autonomously. It has low through life costs and requires no intrusive maintenance throughout its service life.

Sting Ray Mod 1 was designed to defeat the dual threats of fast, deep diving double-hulled submarines operating in the oceanic environment and the quiet, conventional submarine in coastal waters. The enhanced performance of Sting Ray Mod 1 is underpinned by the development of new acoustic and tactical software, drawing on knowledge gained from extensive in-water trials with the Mod 0 weapon.”

Group Captain Richard Osselton, Senior Responsible Officer, Poseidon Futures Programme, was quoted as saying:

“The use of Sting Ray and Mk54 torpedoes gives the UK Poseidon fleet flexibility and interoperability with our allies. I’m delighted to see integration of Sting Ray Mod 1 has commenced at RAF Lossiemouth.”

 

Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

108 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Brom
Brom
6 days ago

good kit, hopefully there may be some international sales on this

Steve
Steve
6 days ago
Reply to  Brom

Would be curious to know if it is better or not than the US option. I’m all for domestic but if that means a capability cut I would rather go international.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve

No, would be my take against mk54. Norwegians use Sting Ray, and they know their littoral.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Mk 54 is, except for the homing head a 1960s era Mk 46 torpedo. The UK designed and built Sting Ray to replace the Mk 46 because it was no good against the then Soviet deep diving titanium and double hulled subs. ivans subs nowadays are in many ways the equivalent of those then soviet boats so Mk54 performance probably is similar.

Steve
Steve
5 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I assume they have been upgraded over the years, can’t imagine the US would have such outdated tech.

Netking
Netking
5 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes it has received software and hardware updates over the years. There is a Mod 2 update scheduled to come online in 2026 that features an entirely new propulsion system and warhead.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 days ago
Reply to  Netking

The Mk 54 performance in trials has been appalling. The inhouse US Weapons Trials organisation has written many a report criticising its poor performance and inability to meet the spec for performance.

It took the UK probably 5 years of testing in water doing shoots against subs from ships and aircraft to refine the software in Sting Ray and it still ongoing now.

The MOD1 doesn’t need to be broken down to update software either. It can be done in the Weapon maintenance sheds ashore through the hull via a sort of WiFi /Induction link

Netking
Netking
4 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Appalling is a little strong to be honest as the latest published dote report could be summed up as inconclusive due to testing restrictions as a result of covid. Directly from the report: The Mod 1 Increment 1 torpedo shows no degradation in torpedo effectiveness from its previous variant, the Mk 54 Mod 0 Block Upgrade, but analysis is limited to employment in deep water environments. Details are in the June 2022 report. Preliminary analysis of shallow water performance indicates that the torpedo is trending toward meeting its requirement in some scenarios, but no data are available to assess performance… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 days ago
Reply to  Netking

I would still say its appalling.
The Mk54 latest Mod isn’t worse than the last…A positive?.
Shallow water- Its moving up to meet the spec but its not there yet.
Deep water Inconclusive. They botched the trials set up and got data from the test runs that proved nothing.

HAAWC IOC means it has limited clearance for use in a restricted flight envelope.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

What a weapon. The USA seems to struggle with torpedoes for some reason.
I wonder if stingray is getting a wing kit or bigger parachute for higher drops.
That is one thing I don’t like about the P8. Low level abilities. I still dream of the Japanese P1 in RAF service.

Gareth
Gareth
1 day ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Would also be nice if we could deploy long range anti-ship missiles on the P8 and, for the T26 frigates, some kind of ASROC/Stingray combination.

TonyB
TonyB
6 days ago

Slightly off topic, but I see Canada is planning to acquire 14 P-8 Posidons, with an option to buy two more.

Joe16
Joe16
6 days ago
Reply to  TonyB

Yes, given the apparent lack of alternatives, Boeing are rather cleaning up on the ASW market right now. may be some scope for getting them to buy some Stingray to go with them, but I think they’ll probably value interoperability with US forces and go with the Mk54.

TonyB
TonyB
6 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Boeing do seem to be cornering the MPA market at the moment.

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 days ago
Reply to  TonyB

Especially as it now seems Germany is also going to join the Poseidon club.

Expat
Expat
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

We’ll we blew it, had we only selected an in production airframe for our MPA its highly likely we would getting the European orders as a minimum.

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 days ago
Reply to  Expat

Agreed. Though I’m not sure where this now leaves France, as they were looking at an Airbus A320 derivative, to replace the Atlantic. Germany were part of the team.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Guess stick with MU90

Mickey
Mickey
6 days ago
Reply to  TonyB

Probably will be 16. Canada’s real estate, NORAD and NATO commitments will dictate that.All the 5 eyes will have the P-8s now.

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  TonyB

That should be the way of the UK ,still well done Canada . 2 Squadrons maybe 3 🇨🇦

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
5 days ago
Reply to  TonyB

With all this acquisition going on maybe the UK might get a few more and put some under a different roof? Too many P-8/E-7 eggs under the one hangar basket IMHO.

Coll
Coll
5 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

TBH, I think there should be a little more focus should be on the E-7.

farouk
farouk
6 days ago

“The Ministry of Defence has chosen the UK manufactured Sting Ray Torpedo “
It always raises a smile with me when I hear the immortal words:
“Stand by for action, we are about to launch ‘Sting Ray”

Last edited 6 days ago by farouk
Joe16
Joe16
6 days ago
Reply to  farouk

If someone doesn’t at least hum “Stingraay, stingray!” as it hits the water, I’ll be somewhat disappointed…

Toby J
Toby J
6 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

I’m not getting the reference

farouk
farouk
6 days ago
Reply to  Toby J

Toby wrote:
“”I’m not getting the reference”

There was a string of British Children TV shows made by a bloke called Gerry Anderson where he used puppets. The thing is the shows had very mature story lines and cracking sound tracks, google :
Gerry Anderson’s Stingray (1964) – HD Opening Titles

to see what we refer to:

Toby J
Toby J
6 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Ok, I think that’s before my time

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago
Reply to  Toby J

Show off 😀

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
6 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Well…

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 days ago
Reply to  Toby J

I’m still addicted to Fireball XL5 myself.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Classics!

Sooty
Sooty
6 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Ahh 7Marina . . . !

Simon
Simon
5 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Anything can happen in the next half hour….. stingray stingray!

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 days ago
Reply to  Toby J

Are you saying you’ve not heard of Joe90, as well?😁

Toby J
Toby J
6 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Joe who?

Matt C
Matt C
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Bloody hell that’s a name I hadn’t heard in a long time. A strange mix of science fiction, kid adventure and Cold War spy thriller.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
6 days ago
Reply to  farouk

…anybody think F1’s George Russell looks like Troy Tempest? If only a feature film were being made….😉

LongTime
LongTime
6 days ago

Now you say it.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 days ago

He was based on James Garner.

LongTime
LongTime
6 days ago
Reply to  farouk

‘Der der der der dum dum’

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
6 days ago
Reply to  farouk

😆

Gerry Anderson – another British success story.

Last edited 6 days ago by Barry Larking
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 days ago
Reply to  farouk

The Torpedo is called Sting Ray as two distinct words and should always be written like that. Thats because of copyright issues with the TV series which had the Stingray as one word already sewn up!

The stuff you learnt on an Air Weapon Maintainers Course!

Joe16
Joe16
6 days ago

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we’re fitting them instead of the (apparently) not very good Mk54.
But I think the RAF are being a tad disingenuous here, I believe that Norway led (and paid) the way in getting the formal integration done a while back? Any cost to us will likely be limited to any required changes to individual aircraft hardware and maybe a software flash.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
2 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Really. Haha. I did wonder where the millions for integration was in the announcement.
Boeing could rinse a good £100m for it.

Talon
Talon
6 days ago

Excellent news, both for UK capability and for export potential! (Assuming that integration with the UK P-8s means that it can easily be used by other P-8 operators as well)

John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago

Good, but if there is any money down the back of the sofa, RAF P-8 could do with a small interim buy of LRASM.

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Apparently PM found 1 Billion pounds today to help the Environment . 😮

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

That would have bought another T26 or 2 T31s and some change left over… Lol 😁

Andrew D
Andrew D
5 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Would of been nice Xmas present for the RN .Let’s face it no interest in Defence what do ever .

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
2 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Some extra cash for Rwanda as well. They must be laughing all the way to the bank.
£100s of millions so far

Crabfat
Crabfat
25 seconds ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

“Mar 10, 2023 … The UK will give France almost £500m over three years to help stop migrants crossing the Channel in small boats”
When it comes to politics, there’s no limits to what Rishi, et al, will dig out from behind the sofa.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
6 days ago

While it’s good that we are integrating Sting Ray Mod 1 to Poseidon, it has a German warhead manufactured by TDW. Let’s hope that if this needs to be used in the South Atlantic, the Germans will not object – as they are to futher sales of Typhoon in the Middle East

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Hi David, although a nation that has parts within a weapon system it can prevent export, they cannot prevent the end user from using it as they will…in the same way the Uk has no ability to tell any nation with an aircraft that has a Martin bakers ejector seat how and when it can be used..but can prevent export.

AlexS
AlexS
6 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I can only see a problem if the Falklands get independence.

Jim
Jim
6 days ago

Does this mean it’s getting integrated with the same wing kit as the mk54 or will our P8’s be expected to fly low to deploy it?

Would be very interesting to know how much this is costing as cost was previously sighted as prohibitive.

John Clark
John Clark
6 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I would hope the wing kit….

Rfn_Weston
Rfn_Weston
6 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I believe Norway has mostly paid for this.

Pete ( the original from years ago)
Pete ( the original from years ago)
6 days ago

Great news. With limited airframes uk has to get maximum utility, effectiveness and punch from each one

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 days ago

This is very good news indeed the stingray is a very different beast the anaemic Mk54..

stingray..range 12,000 yards, speed 45knots, 99lb warhead..quite electric pump jet propulsion.

Mk54 10,00 yards, 40knotw, 96lb warhead, uses a noisier Otto fuelled combust engine..it’s also been constantly criticised for poor performance.

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Being a bit disingenuous there with Stingray’s speed!

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Why do you say that…that’s the publicly available speed…a 6mph difference is very meaningful when you are talking about nuclear submarines that can travel at 37mph vs a torpedo that can travel at 46mph..vs one that travels at almost 52mph…that’s over a 50% increase in closure rate if it becomes a tail chase vs the torpedoes speed and the subs max speed.

Last edited 6 days ago by Jonathan
DaveyB
DaveyB
6 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

It’s one version of Stingray’s publicly stated speed. Both torpedoes can go quite a bit faster.

Stingray pretty much has three speed modes that include loiter, cruise and terminal. The speed you have quoted is within its cruise speed range.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

👍😉

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Is he ever…its way quicker than 45Knts

The warhead on SR is also Shaped Charge and IM compliant.

Mk 54 has the old Mk46 Blast warhead that was proven as useless against double hulls and SSGN boats

GlynH
GlynH
6 days ago

GunBuster can now finally retire from the endless Mk.54 commentary 🙂 I tell you what though, if i was in Kilo/Lada and a P-8 dropped a Mk.54, 250yards away, I wouldn’t be un-worried. Hell if I was in a Yassen a P-8 dropped two etc.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 days ago
Reply to  GlynH

👍

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
6 days ago

Shame about the numb of aircraft to do it

LongTime
LongTime
6 days ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Whilst true, I’m having a positive day so I’m going with, “A better boomstick is a better boomstick”

Bob
Bob
6 days ago

Slightly off-topic but Heappey claimed today that the P8 in Sigonella had to return to the UK for “Operational reasons” (Read searching for Russians)

Does this mean that the remaining eight P8s are insufficient to do the job or that aircraft/crew availability is too low?

LongTime
LongTime
6 days ago
Reply to  Bob

I suspect “operational reason” should read “requires maintenance but we don’t want to tell you that”

Bob
Bob
5 days ago
Reply to  LongTime

If that were the case they would have replaced the aircraft. It was needed because we had insufficient aircraft available to meet operational requirements. The question is, why?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
2 days ago
Reply to  Bob

well could be “operational reason” could read another airframe “requires maintenance” but we don’t want to tell you that we have to bring this one back to cover it.

LongTime
LongTime
2 days ago
Reply to  Bob

You might want an answer Bob but in my experience if MoD state “operational requirements” 99% of the time means something broke and they don’t want to admit treasury penny pinching screwed them as the top table might get upset. If they needed it back for any other reason in would of been announced as “bolstering capability in home water” as MoD love to add capability from nowhere

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
6 days ago

Good news. If we cannot back our own ‘winners’ who else is going to take our industries seriously?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago

Blimey! Where is Gunbuster!!? We have learned so much from him over the years re Mk54 and the superior Stingray.

Great news.

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 days ago

GB, will be in the yacht club bar, slinging back a few daiquiris, with a smug grin on his face. Saying, told em so!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Indeed!

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

😂😁

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Actually in work at the weekend in the final two weeks of a USNS ship 5A inspection rebuild. Lots of inserts etc …She is over 40 years old after all but I do like working on her…Good Crew as well.

Larry
Larry
6 days ago

To quote Cmdr Shore. Anything could happen in the next Thirty minutes.

Expat
Expat
6 days ago

Good, with other nations lining up to purchase the P8 we really missed the boat on offering MPA product. Hopefully we can at least export weapons for the platform.

I saw a new US defence start up term its self a company that offers a defence products and not a defence contractor. We need more of that thinking in the UK.

Sooty
Sooty
6 days ago

Didn’t Nimrod MR2 have Stingray?

Bob
Bob
6 days ago
Reply to  Sooty

Yes

Sooty
Sooty
6 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Thought so. 10 years plus to recover a capability!

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  Sooty

Think Nimrod MR2 beat P8 in just about everything range weapon load hight.Yes some will say cost over runs but for me it was another cut MR Cameron and side kick Osborne. But this is good news P8 with Stingray. 😉 🇬🇧

Matt C
Matt C
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Weren’t the Nimrod airframes being seriously clapped a big part of the problem?

DaveyB
DaveyB
5 days ago
Reply to  Matt C

A lot of the issues besides each airframe being hand built and therefore subject to the vagueness of being slightly different. Was that the 30+ years in RAF service saw numerous modifications being applied. But not conforming to the same configuration control, quality inspections or documentation. When BAe started inspecting the airframes. They found that say a fleet wide modification had been installed in many different ways. They firstly had to capture and document all these modifications and clarify the differences. These then had to be either signed off or ripped out and redone. All this additional work significantly ramped… Read more »

Matt C
Matt C
5 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

So regardless of whether Nimrod MR2 could have competed with Poseidon, reality is that the condition of the airframes is what really hampered the upgrade. Of course, a further lesson learned here is that project forecasting needs to take into consideration the condition of the airframes before committing to the project.

DaveyB
DaveyB
5 days ago
Reply to  Matt C

I think at the time, those in the RAF making the decision on upgrading MR2 to 4. Thought they would save money and get the aircraft earlier. However, there were perhaps too many yes men within both BAe and the Engineering Authority wishing not to make waves. BAe did come with a concept to build a new airframe based on the Nimrod. But using at that time modern manufacturing techniques. It would have been at least double if not triple the original MR2 upgrade price. Hence why they chose the easy and cheaper route. However, like I said it bit… Read more »

Louis
Louis
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Nimrod MRA4 was never going to work. The airframes were 50 years old, and all were different from each other. New wings on an old plane was a terrible idea.

The plan for a new airframe was much better, but of course Britain wasn’t capable of building an airliner anyway by that point.

Klonkie
Klonkie
5 days ago
Reply to  Louis

spot on Louis!

Bob
Bob
5 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Not really. Britain could have built new airframes, but there was no way the UK were going to invest the funds required.

Klonkie
Klonkie
5 days ago
Reply to  Bob

I’m unsure about that Bob. Extremely expensive undertaking for what would have become 9 airframes. I always held the view the RAF should have gone with the P8 from the get go. Heaven knows it would have saved the taxpayer a bundle.

John Hartley
John Hartley
3 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

MRA4 was to be 21 + exports, as it was way ahead of P-8 then. So new build was doable. No will to do so though.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

thanks John

Louis
Louis
5 days ago
Reply to  Bob

The issue was that the RAF wanted an ‘off the shelf’ option as the MRA4 was needed quickly, a new airframe would’ve been unable to meet that deadline.

Of course that deadline was never met anyways, in part due to each aircraft being slightly different from one another, and the fleets continued shrinkage from originally 21 planned, all the way down to 9.

It didn’t help of course that BAE gave up on commercial aircraft building between the 90s and 2001.

Andrew D
Andrew D
5 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Sounds like Airfix would of done a better job .🤗

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago

Great. Now let’s get another half dozen Poseidon’s.

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

👍

Klonkie
Klonkie
5 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

hell yeah Geoff!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Serials in military spotters guides are reserved for the RAF apparently. Make of that what you will.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
4 days ago

? 🙄

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
5 days ago

Will this new torpedo also be used off the Merlin’s and Wildcats?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Already is . And off MTLS

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
5 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Evening Gunbuster, I know the current Mod 0 is, I was asking about this newer Mod 1, as you say already is. Good news.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 days ago

Finally!

John Taylor
John Taylor
5 days ago

The MK54 is designed for littoral use against slower conventional subs as the Mk46 has trouble in littoral areas and the Mk50 is too expensive especially when used against the mini-subs used by the Iranians and North Koreans.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
4 days ago
Reply to  John Taylor

Where Sting Ray does it all. Its fitted with a drogue that deploys even when tube launched that acts as a sea anchor to stop the weapon plunging deep. As the motor flashes up it unscrews from the torpedo and is left behind.
So Sting Ray will do deep divers and littoral depths in one weapon.