The Royal Navy said it fired an upgraded version of Spearfish heavy torpedo from HMS Audacious Astute-class nuclear-powered submarine in the Bahamas.
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.”
“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.”
Even after initial capability is declared, important data still has to be collected on the torpedo’s performance in a range of environments.