U.S. Navy Selects Lockheed Martin to Provide High Altitude Launch Capability to MK-54 Torpedoes
ORLANDO, FL, 13-JUN-06 --
The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] a 12-month, $3 million contract for its High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapons Concept (HAAWC). The program will demonstrate delivery of the MK-54 lightweight torpedo from a P-3C aircraft operating at high altitudes (approximately 20,000) feet.
Lockheed Martin’s HAAWC concept employs the Lockheed Martin LongShot® Wing Adapter Kit to allow the launch of torpedoes from high altitudes and long standoff ranges. This technology enables P-3C aircrews to launch from outside the range of enemy air defenses.
“This is a significant operational enhancement over the P-3C’s current method of launching MK-54s from close to the surface against submarine targets,” said Alan Jackson, director of the HAAWC program at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Currently, P-3s must descend to a low altitude to deliver the MK54. The HAAWC concept improves the delivery accuracy and shortens the engagement time of the MK54 torpedo. This new capability will also increase the survivability of both of the aircrew and the aircraft by providing safe standoff. The standoff capability could potentially opens up the possibility for future of using MK-54s against surface targets by allowing the aircraft to launch from outside the range of a ship’s air defenses.”
In addition, HAAWC reduces stress on the P-3 aircraft by allowing it to stay at altitude to launch HAAWC-equipped torpedoes. This will assist in reducing fatigue on those aircraft currently in U.S. Navy service as well as future Navy aircraft.
The demonstration will include a high-altitude launch, where the HAAWC-equipped torpedo will glide to its normal launch altitude close to the surface, and then jettison the LongShot wings prior to water entry. From that point, the torpedo follows its normal operational procedures as it would in a launch from a P-3 from low altitude. A Successful demonstration of this technology will assist the Navy in furthering the development of a high altitude launch for lightweight torpedoes.
The LongShot is a low-cost, self-contained wing adaptor kit that provides range extension and autonomous guidance to a family of existing air-to-surface munitions, including sea mines, gravity bombs, laser-guided bombs and tactical munitions dispensers. No aircraft modification is required to deploy a LongShot equipped munition. The system is completely self-contained, including a flight control computer, a GPS-based navigation system and power sources and does not require an electrical interface with the aircraft.