SAIC to Deliver MK 48 Torpedo Test Sets for US Navy

Virginia-based SAIC has secured an $80-million contract to supply MK 48 torpedo test sets for the US Navy.

The five-year project specified the design completion and delivery of MK 710 Torpedo System Test Sets (TSTS) used to validate the capability of Mk 48 heavyweight weapons in sub-surface operations.

SAIC wrote that the MK 710 TSTS serves as a critical component in providing the navy’s submarine force with “high-quality” torpedoes.

Data gathered from testing MK 710 TSTS will also be used for tactics development, training, and future upgrade certifications for the US Department of Defense, the agency added.

“SAIC looks forward to expanding our support to the Navy’s heavyweight torpedo program,” SAIS Navy Business Group Executive Vice President Barbara Supplee said.

“This award further demonstrates the trust and confidence the Navy has placed in SAIC and our exceptional workforce’s heavyweight torpedo expertise.”

191018-N-UN744-1259 - HAAKONSVERN NAVAL BASE, Norway (Oct. 18, 2019) - Sailors assigned to the Virginia-class, nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783) work alongside Norwegian crane operators to guide an MK-48 Advanced Capability torpedo into the submarine during an ordnance onload at the Haakonsvern Naval Base in Bergen, Norway, Oct. 18, 2019. Minnesota, the 10th ship of the Virginia class, is on a regularly scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Travis Simmons)
US personnel and Norwegian operators prepare MK 48 torpedo for USS Minnesota fast-attack submarine. Photo: Chief Mass Communication Specialist Travis Simmons/US Navy

SAIC received a similar contract in April 2023 to support the US Navy’s MK 48 torpedo development.

The $102.5-million contract stipulated the fabrication, trials, and shipment of MK 48 Mod 7 afterbody tail cones as well as war shot fuel tanks for the MK 29 Mod 0 acoustic torpedoes.

In 2021, the firm signed a $1.1-billion contract to produce, assemble, and deliver MK 48s and MK 29s to the US Navy.

MK 48 Heavyweight Torpedo

The MK 48 torpedo is a submarine-launched warhead specifically designed to destroy nuclear-powered submarines and advanced surface ships.

The weapon was initially conceptualized in the late 1950s and was designed in the following decade to match the Soviet Union’s submersible capabilities. Since then, the system has undertaken several revamps to address changing warfare requirements.

The MK 48’s latest iteration is the Mod 7 upgrade, which measures 21 inches (53 centimeters) in diameter, weighs 3,744 pounds (1,698 kilograms), and is powered by a liquid propellant.

It can reach targets at speeds of more than 30 knots (35 miles/56 kilometers per hour).

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