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USN sets sights on new ASW training target

The US Navy (USN) has revealed plans to procure a new generation of recoverable anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training target to replace its legacy MK 30 Mod 1 target.

A request for information (RFI) issued by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport (NUWCDIVNPT) on 9 August indicates that the service is looking to place a contract award in fiscal year (FY) 2025 to achieve an initial operating capability (IOC) in FY 2027.

Designed for both open ocean and instrumented range use, ASW training targets simulate the acoustic and dynamic characteristics of a submarine threat. This allows surface, air, and underwater units to practice their ASW detection, tracking, and weapon employment skills against a realistic threat-representative target.

The current MK 30 Mod 1 heavyweight torpedo-size target entered service in 1975 and the average age of the inventory is 40 years. The USN has initiated a service life extension programme (SLEP) to enable the MK 30 Mod 1 target to support fleet training through to 2027, but the system is now regarded as increasingly obsolete.

NUWCDIVNPT has been tasked by the Undersea Weapons Program Office (PMS 404) in the Naval Sea Systems Command to procure a replacement ASW training target. Its RFI states that the USN is “interested in TRL [technology readiness level] 7 or higher technologies”.

According to NUWCDIVNPT, target run profiles will be externally programmable to produce customised runs for specific training needs, adding, “The ASW training target will be capable of generating discrete tonals and tonal families, broadband noise, and transient signals [and the] target will be capable of responding to active sonar sources.”

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