Navy Expects to Field Winged ASW Torpedo by 2020
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy’s program to develop an anti-submarine torpedo launched from high altitude from a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft is on track to field the weapon to fleet units by fiscal 2020, a Boeing official said.
The High-Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) program is being put through separation tests with 100 percent success so far, Cindy Gruensfelder, director of Direct Attack programs for Boeing, told reporters March 28.
The HAAWC is a combination of a Mk 54 anti-submarine warfare torpedo with a folding wing and Global Positioning System guidance kit — called the Air-Launch Accessory, or ALA — attached. The weapon is launched from the weapons bay of a P-8A at altitudes up to 30,000 feet. The weapon glides to the target datum using the wings and precision guidance system and the wings detach upon water entry. The torpedo uses active or passive homing to the targets submarine. The HAAWC gives the P-8A the option of remaining at fuel-efficient altitudes and at standoff ranges to attack submerged submarines.
Currently, P-8s must descend to low altitudes of 500 feet or less to launch a parachute-retarded Mk 54 torpedo.
The ALA is not equipped with an inflight data link to enable target position updates, but that could be added in future versions of the HAAWC.
Development testing of the HAAWC will be finished this year, Gruensfelder said. Integration testing is continuing this year, with a flight of the HAAWC scheduled for later this year as well. Operational testing will be conducted before the fielding of the weapon.
Gruensfelder expects a government decision for Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) later this year. The first and second lots of LRIP are expected to total 140 weapons.
The HAAWC will be made available for procurement by the foreign nations that have or are procuring the P-8, including Australia, India, Norway and the United Kingdom, said Capt. Tony Rossi, the Navy’s maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft program manager, also speaking to reporters at the same event.