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British MoD confirms £230 million maintenance contract for Spearfish and Sting Ray torpedoes.

| 2021

According to a statement published by the United Kingdom government on January 27, 2021, cutting-edge Spearfish and Sting Ray torpedoes carried by the British Royal Navy are receiving a £230 million maintenance uplift.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 A Spearfish torpedo being loaded into a British Royal Navy submarine. (Picture source British Navy)

Spearfish torpedoes – which use sonar to home in on targets - are carried by the Royal Navy’s Astute class and Trafalgar class hunter-killer submarines and the nuclear deterrent Vanguard-class to neutralize underwater and surface threats.

The Spearfish torpedo is the heavy torpedo used by the submarines of the Royal Navy. It can be guided by wire or by autonomous active or passive sonar, and provides both anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface ship warfare (ASuW) capability. The torpedo has a maximum firing range of 54 km with a and warhead weight of 300 kg (660 lb).

While Sting Ray torpedoes are deployed on Anti-Submarine Warfare mission, including frigates, Merlin, and Wildcat helicopters. They provide a close attack capability which also automatically targets enemy threats.

The Sting Ray is a British acoustic homing lightweight torpedo (LWT) manufactured by the company GEC-Marconi who is now part of BAE Systems. The torpedo is propelled by a pump jet driven by an electric motor. Power is supplied by a magnesium/silver-chloride seawater battery. The propulsion method combines high speed, deep diving, agility and low noise levels. She has a firing range from 8 to 11 km and has warhead weight of 45 kg.

Supporting over 100 skilled jobs at the BAE Systems Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth, the Torpedoes Repair and Maintenance (TRAM) contract will run for six years. TRAM supersedes the Torpedo Capability Contract (TCC) with BAE Systems which ran for 10 years.

The contract will help guarantee the Royal Navy’s inventory of Spearfish Heavyweight and Sting Ray Lightweight torpedoes. A full suite of maintenance activities is also included. This support ranges from technical repair, provision of spares, stock management, logistics, and trials support.

Ensuring the torpedoes are safely stored is vital, so the contract also offers safety, environmental, and engineering advice to support the continued secure use of the weapons.

British MoD confirms 230 million maintenance contract for Spearfish and Sting Ray torpedoes 925 002A British Royal Navy Merlin helicopter with 829 Naval Air Squadron launches a dummy training Sting Ray torpedo off the Cornish coast. (Picture source British Navy)

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