Hitting the Mark with Upgraded CBASS

file The U.S. Navy submarine fleet is looking to Lockheed Martin to improve the accuracy of its torpedoes, particularly for use against evolving threats in shallower water near coastlines.

Naval engineers have grappled with how to ensure a torpedo hits the intended target ever since Robert Whitehead invented the first self-propelled one almost 150 years ago. From the original straight runners to World War II’s Torpedo Data Computer to the use of modern umbilical wires, the quest for a more accurate torpedo continues.

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The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $50 million contract to upgrade its MK 48 heavyweight torpedoes, shown in the graphic above, with upgraded Common Broadband Advanced Sonar Systems.
 
   

Now, the U.S. Navy is looking to Lockheed Martin to improve the accuracy of its torpedoes, particularly for use against evolving threats in shallower water near coastlines. The Navy recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $50 million contract to upgrade its MK 48 heavyweight torpedoes with Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) replacement kits.

The upgrades feature enhanced guidance systems, additional wide band sonar systems and advanced broadband signal processing capabilities to optimize the torpedoes’ ability to strike targets in littoral waters, as well as in the deep seas.

“This program expands our underwater portfolio with the Navy by moving us into the heavyweight torpedo market,” said Mike Gifford, the company’s senior program manager for underwater vehicles.  “By utilizing our extensive engineering and production experience in electronics, software and test equipment development, we will enhance the MK 48’s effectiveness and help the Navy achieve mission success.”

Scheduled for delivery by 2014, the replacement kits will upgrade the heavyweight torpedoes used by the entire submarine fleet for anti-submarine or anti-surface warfare. The MK 48 heavyweight torpedo weighs 3,520 pounds, with a speed of more than 28 knots and  a range of five miles.

Lockheed Martin’s Marion, Mass., facility will perform the CBASS work, with support from company locations in Akron, Ohio, and Newport, R.I.