South Korea to buy MK 54 torpedoes for helicopter use
On 15 July, the US State Department announced that approval had been granted to sell MK 54 lightweight torpedoes to South Korea under an FMS deal.
The prospective deal is worth $130 million, and it covers 31 torpedoes.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency revealed that the deal also includes a recoverable exercise torpedo; a storage and issue facility; air launch accessories for rotary-winged aircraft; spare parts; torpedo containers; and support equipment and services.
The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) will use these MK 54 torpedoes from the MH-60R helicopters that it is awaiting from Sikorsky in the US.
The US DoD announced on 12 April 2021 that Seoul had ordered a dozen MH-60Rs for $447.23 million.
The ROKN already uses the K745 Blue Shark lightweight torpedo produced by LIG Nex1. In use since 2004, including from helicopters, it seems that South Korea is unwilling or not allowed to integrate the Blue Shark onto the Romeo platform, and hence this decision to buy MK 54s from the US.
The ROKN also uses MK 54 torpedoes in conjunction with P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, with a $72 million sale for 31 torpedoes approved by the DSCA in August 2019.
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