The Royal Navy’s upgraded Spearfish torpedo has undergone extensive deep water trials with HMS Audacious in the Bahamas.

The Royal Navy say that five of the heavy torpedoes were fired by Audacious – the fourth of the Royal Navy’s Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines – during three days of trials on a special range.

“The firings at AUTEC, the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre on Andros Island, studied the performance of the weapon at its maximum operating depth and challenged the torpedo’s homing abilities through the introduction of countermeasures. The trials in the Bahamas were the latest in a string of crucial tests on the upgraded heavyweight torpedo since the decision was taken to enhance it in 2010.

The souped-up Spearfish – known as the Mod-1 – features a new warhead, new, safer fuel system, a smarter electronic ‘brain’ and a fibre-optic guidance link with its parent submarine to improve its accuracy and lethality. These trials took place after Initial Operating Capability was achieved, meaning work can now begin turning existing Spearfish into the improved Mod-1 version for entry into operational service with all Royal Navy submarines by 2025.”

Commodore Bob Anstey RN, the senior officer responsible for the Programme and Deputy Director Submarines, said:

“I am delighted to be able to formally declare that the Spearfish Programme’s Mod-1 Spearfish Torpedo has reached Initial Operating Capability; the culmination of a great effort from across the whole Spearfish Team, including our partners across industry.

Whilst we remain focused on the ultimate aim of providing the Full Spearfish Mod-1 Operational Capability, the team should be congratulated on achieving this important milestone; a critical step in the process of maintaining the effectiveness of the Royal Navy’s submarine-launched heavyweight torpedo for years to come.”

The ranges off Andros Island – south-west of Nassau – are centred on a 6,000ft deep natural phenomenon, the Tongue of the Ocean, a huge deep-water bowl carved out of coral reef. You can read more here.

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Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago

Hope the boys getting landed on Andros keep up the tradition of ‘borrowing’ the golf carts. Oh and well done on the new torpedoey thingies too.

Ian Chilley
Ian Chilley
1 month ago

I was on HMS Courageous during the sea trials of the original Spearfish in the 80’s. I can’t believe it has taken this amount of time to upgrade it

MarkF
MarkF
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Chilley

You could say that the original Spearfish torpedoes were so ahead of their time, it is only now that they need upgrading.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago

This is great news. The upgrade will keep this world class weapon at the cutting edge.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

We have a UK equivalent – “BUTEC” at Kyle of Lochalsh, with other measuring ranges in other local Lochs.

AUTEC is far superior though.

And that photo. What an asset and menacing looking beast.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
1 month ago

They look amazing don’t they.

Whlgrubber
Whlgrubber
1 month ago

AUTEC is British, just the odd thousand US civvies operating it. Facilities are fantastic