According to information released by the British Navy, HMS Audacious (S122), an Astute-class nuclear powered submarine in service with the British Navy, conducted firing tests in the Bahamas of an improved Spearfish torpedo, known as the name of Mod-1.
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The British Navy Astute-class nuclear submarine HMS Audacious conducted firing tests in the Bahamas with an improved Spearfish torpedo, known as the Mod-1. (Image source British Navy)
The shots at AUTEC, the Atlantic underwater testing and evaluation center on Andros Island, studied the performance of the Spearfish at its maximum operating depth and tested the capabilities guiding the torpedo through the introduction of countermeasures.
The Bahamas tests were the latest in a series of crucial tests on the improved heavy torpedo since the decision to upgrade it in 2010. These tests took place after reaching initial operational readiness, meaning the work can now begin to transform existing Spearfish into the upgraded Mod-1 version for entry into operational service with all Royal Navy submarines by 2025.
HMS Audacious is the fourth Astute-class nuclear submarine in service with the Royal British Navy. It was launched in April 2017 and commissioned on April 3, 2020. The submarine is powered by two Rolls-Royce PWR 2 pressurized water nuclear reactors and 600 kilowatt MTU diesel generators. It can reach a top diving speed of 30 knots (56 km / h).
HMS Audacious has a length of 97 m, a beam of 11.3 m, a draft of 10 m and a maximum displacement of 8,600 tonnes. He has 90 days of endurance and a crew of 98.
HMS Audacious is armed with six 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes capable of firing Tomahawk Block IV cruise missiles (tactical tomahawk) and Spearfish torpedoes and mines. There is a total capacity of 36 torpedoes and missiles.
British Navy engineers prepare the Mod-1 Spearfish torpedo for testing aboard the nuclear submarine HMS Audacious. (Image source British Navy)
The Spearfish is a heavy torpedo manufactured by BAE Systems Underwater and used by Royal British Navy submarines. It can be guided by wire or by active or passive autonomous sonar and provides both anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-ship warfare (ASuW) capabilities.
The Spearfish Mod 1 benefits from significant advancements in its guidance, warhead and tactical systems. It will also receive a high speed fiber optic data link between the torpedo and the launch ship. The use of modular hardware improves the maintainability of weapons and reduces operating costs over the lifetime of the Department of Defense. The enhanced weapon will be reprogrammable “through the skin” to incorporate the latest developments in sonar technology and to account for intelligence on changing threat characteristics.
Characteristics of Spearfish Mod 1: a launching system by tube of 533 mm of diameter; high speed propulsion system; large blast warhead payload; wire-guided and autonomous operation by optical fiber; excellent handling; low radiated noise; discriminating rallying and advanced tactical intelligence. The Mod 1 upgrade will provide operational capability until 2050.