Northrop Grumman has built and tested the first industry-built Very Lightweight Torpedo (VLWT) for the U.S. Navy.
The weapon will be submitted as an option for the Navy’s Compact Rapid Attack Weapon program under which it is hunting for a miniature torpedo that can also act as anti-torpedo interceptor. The U.S. Navy plans to field them first on some Virginia-class submarines within the next four years.
The prototype torpedo is based on the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory’s (PSU-ARL) design that was distributed to defense industrial manufacturers in 2016, the company said in a release Thursday.
“The successful testing of the torpedo nose on the first try is a testament to Northrop Grumman’s design-for-affordability approach, which will significantly reduce cost without sacrificing operational performance,” said David Portner, lead torpedo program manager, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman assembled the prototype VLWT using a Stored Chemical Energy Propulsion System (SCEPS) manufactured by teammate Barber-Nichols, Inc., (BNI) of Denver, Colorado.