The German Navy is planning to replace the existing Mk 46 lightweight torpedo (LWT) carried by its P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft with the Raytheon Mk 54.
Commander René Levien, a German Navy Staff underwater warfare expert, told the Undersea Defence Technology conference in Bremen that the legacy Mk 46 was facing life expiry in the very near term and the navy is seeking to acquire the Mk 54 as a replacement. "The Mk 54 is a solution that is already integrated with the combat system," he said.
The Germany Navy intends to fly its P-3 fleet, acquired from the Netherlands under a 2005 deal, out to around 2035. The aircraft are receiving an extensive life-extension programme through to 2022. Two packages covering rewinging, structural enhancements, and avionics upgrades were announced in July 2015 and will extend the service-life of each aircraft by 15,000 hours (or around 20 years of normal service).
A contract for the upgrade of the mission system was then announced in May 2016, including new acoustic processing capabilities, armament/ordnance system, and display and control systems.
"The mission system refresh will include improved availability, will integrate bi-/multi-static capability, extend the range of sonobuoys we can use, features enhanced signal processing, improvement to acoustic data storage, and provide for future weapons options" Cdr Levien noted.
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