The US DSCA (Defense Security Cooperation Agency) has advised US Congress of plans to supply Australia with a maximum of 100 Mk 54 torpedoes in a deal valued at $83 million.
The planned Mk 54 LHT (Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo) contract would encompass the weapons themselves, along with 13 mock torpedoes (for training purposes), test and support equipment, training and technical support.
If the deal is approved, the torpedoes will be manufactured by US defence contractor Raytheon.
Australian Mk 54 Torpedoes Sale
In a statement on the proposed Australian Mk 54 torpedoes sale, the DSCA describes Australia as 'an important ally in the Western Pacific that contributes significantly to ensuring peace and stability in the region'. It adds: 'The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.'
It is Australia's intention to fit these torpedoes to its in-service Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, along with its yet-to-be-acquired Boeing P-8A Poseidons.
It now falls to US Congress to consider the proposition and give its approval, all being well.
Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo
The Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo is the product of a Raytheon and US Navy partnership established to produce a Mk 46 and Mk 50 torpedoes replacement.
The Mk 54 combines elements of both its predecessors - namely the Mk 46's power system and the Mk 50's warhead. Development got underway in 1999 and, five years later, the design entered series production.
The Mk 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo is compatible with the majority of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft and, when deployed on ships, can be launched in two ways: either from vertical launchers or torpedo tubes
Using what Raytheon terms 'sophisticated processing algorithms to analyse the information, edit out false targets or countermeasures, and then pursue identified threats', the Mk 54 is a 'low-cost weapon that meets all performance requirements for littoral warfare'.