HAAWC is a low-cost, self–contained, wing adaptor kit that enables the MK-54 torpedo to be launched from the internal weapons bay of the P-3 aircraft flying at high altitude. This enhanced range and altitude launch enhances the survivability of both the aircrew and aircraft by providing safe standoff. The HAAWC-equipped torpedo then glides to its normal launch altitude close to the surface, and jettisons the wings prior to water entry at a pre-determined location.
Without HAAWC, P-3s must descend to a low altitude to deliver the MK54. The HAAWC concept employs GPS/INS guidance to improve delivery accuracy and shorten the engagement time of the MK54 torpedo. 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.