|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Mar 29, 2017 08:34 AM EDT|
(Photo : US Navy) HAAWC scale model.
A "flying torpedo" that can be launched from an altitude as high as 9,000 meters to destroy Chinese submarines will arm U.S. Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft by 2020.
The Lockheed Martin High Altitude Anti-submarine warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) is an add-on air-launched accessory (ALA) kit that transforms the navy's Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo into a "flying bomb" with wings.
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HAAWC gives the Mark 54 the ability to glide through the air for long distances. It consists of a pair of folding wings; a tail unit; a GPS-guided navigation system and a parachute.
The HAAWC glides downwards towards the water after launch. The ALA kit then peels off. The system deploys a parachute to slow down the Mark 54 as it plunges into the water. The torpedo activates and begins to hunt its target submarine.
The major advantage of the HAAWC is it allows the P-8 to track and kill Chinese and Russian submarines from high altitudes (over 10,000 meters, according to some sources) and for vastly longer distances.
HAAWC will be particularly effective against the new deeper diving and stealthier ballistic nuclear missile submarines operated by China and Russia.
The navy plans to have the weapon on its P-8s this year. Low-rate initial production of HAAWC will begin this year.
HAAWC is a vast improvement over the navy's traditional method of launching ASW torpedoes from the P-8. Mark 54s are typically dropped from altitudes as low as 30 meters above the waves, a mission profile fraught with danger. HAAWC changes this dramatically.
The Mark 54 incorporates an advanced guidance and control (G&C) section employing commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) processing technologies and tactical software improvements to significantly increase shallow water counter-countermeasure capability.
Future development will continue to provide improvements to shallow water performance via software upgrades. The MK 54 Mod 1 adds a new sonar array assembly and improved processing capability.
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