What the Ministry of Defence call the world’s ‘most advanced torpedo’ is “on the cusp of entering service” after extensive trials in Scotland, say the Royal Navy.
The upgraded Spearfish was “fired” repeatedly at frigate HMS Sutherland as scientists, engineers and sailors studied its performance.
According to a news release:
“Over four days on special ranges near the Kyle of Lochalsh, the improved weapon was put through its paces, testing both software and hardware enhancements – while the Plymouth-based frigate did its utmost to fend off the torpedo’s attacks. Spearfish has been the Silent Service’s weapon of choice since the early 1990s, though it has never been fired in anger.
The warhead is a good six times more powerful than that carried by the smaller Sting Ray torpedo, fired by ships like Sutherland or launched from Merlin and Wildcat helicopters. It can break the back of frigates, destroyers and similar-sized warships, and take out any underwater threats.”
The Royal Navy is spending £270m in upgrading Spearfish, fitting a new warhead, new, safer fuel system, an enhanced electronic ‘brain’ and a new fibre-optic guidance link with its parent submarine to improve its accuracy and lethality.
A final trial of Spearfish will take place at BUTEC later in 2020 before the weapon is declared operational and begins being delivered to the submarine fleet.