UK P-8 Poseidons to get Sting Ray Mod 1 torpedoes
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected BAE Systems’ Sting Ray Mod 1 torpedo for its P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) fleet. The Sting Ray torpedo, which is currently being integrated into the Poseidon as its future torpedo capability, will be used alongside the US Navy Mk54 weapon as noted by the MoD in a 1 December statement.
Group captain Richard Osselton, senior responsible officer of Poseidon Futures Programme at the MoD, said: ‘The use of Sting Ray and Mk54 torpedoes gives the UK Poseidon fleet flexibility and interoperability with our allies. I’m delighted to see integration of Sting Ray Mod 1 has commenced at RAF Lossiemouth.’
The Sting Ray Mod 1 is an air- and surface-launched, lightweight ASW torpedo. It can be deployed from frigates, helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft against submarine targets of all types. Utilising an acoustic homing system and navigation system, the torpedo can detect, classify and attack targets autonomously.
The Sting Ray Mod 1 was developed from the Mod 0 torpedo, providing a new sonar system, an insensitive munition warhead, new tactical and navigation system and a new sea water battery system. Produced by BAE Systems, the torpedo saw service with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. It has also been selected by the Norwegian Armed Forces.
Conceived as a replacement for the P-3 Orion, development of the P-8 began in 2004, with its maiden flight in April 2009. The aircraft shares 86% commonality with the 737NG, the civilian variant the P-8 was based upon.
In 2016, the UK received approval from the US government for the purchase of nine Boeing P-8 Poseidon MPAs to fill the gap in its capabilities left by the retirement of the Nimrod MR2 and the cancellation of the follow-on Nimrod MRA4 in 2010.
Boeing announced the signing of a US$3.9 billion contract for the nine P-8s, with deliveries beginning in 2019. The first delivery date for the P-8 was in November 2019, with the ninth and final aircraft being delivered in January 2022.
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