Boeing has received a $25.6-million contract to build an anti-submarine weapon accessory that allows torpedoes to fly and attack enemy submarines from long range and high altitude.
Called the High-Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) Air Launch Accessory, the add-on kit enables Raytheon’s MK 54 lightweight torpedo to glide through the air from altitudes as high as 30,000 feet (9 kilometers).
It reportedly transforms the torpedo into a glide weapon that can be launched from a P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft.
When the torpedo nears the water, it drops its wings and tail to return to its original form. The HAAWC Air Launch Accessory then activates a parachute to lower the torpedo into the water and help begin its trajectory towards the target.
The HAAWC-equipped MK 54 torpedo reportedly glides for seven to ten minutes before entering the water.
Raytheon’s MK 54 is a smart, lightweight torpedo that autonomously detects, tracks, and strikes enemy submarines.
It is designed to operate in shallow waters and can dodge countermeasures to track and strike enemy underwater assets.
The torpedo can be launched from military aircraft but can only be released from altitudes no higher than 100 feet (30 meters) without the new accessory.
With HAAWC Air Launch Accessory, crews of anti-submarine aircraft will be able to launch the torpedo from altitudes outside the ranges of shore-based anti-aircraft defenses.
“Our solution transforms the MK 54 into a precision glide weapon in GPS-aided and GPS-denied environments,” program manager Dewayne Donley said. “The HAAWC system provides flexibility by allowing the Navy to carry out anti-submarine operations throughout the full flight envelope of the P-8A.”
Boeing will perform the work for the contract at its facilities in Missouri, Utah, Minnesota, Florida, and other states.
Work is expected to be completed by September 2024.