Increasing Submarine Threat Brings Torpedo Defense Back to the Surface
(Source: Forecast International; issued Dec 03, 2020)
NEWTOWN, Conn. --- The United States Navy's Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) program provides a detect-to-engage layered torpedo defense capability. The four major systems that comprise SSTD are the SLQ-25 NIXIE system, the Torpedo Warning System (TWS), the Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo (CAT), and the Acoustic Device Countermeasure (Surface ADC Mk 2).

CAT and TWS are development programs. The CAT program develops a canisterized anti-torpedo torpedo (ATT). The TWS program develops the torpedo detection, classification and localization systems required to employ CAT. The TWS and CAT systems make up the Anti-Torpedo Torpedo Defense System (ATTDS).

The U.S. Navy halted development of the ATTDS portion of the SSTD around September 2019 due to poor performance, and is removing the prototypes from its aircraft carriers. Apparently, while the system did work in principle, it was not considered reliable enough for operational use. The SLQ-25 (NIXIE) is a towed acoustic and non-acoustic countermeasure system. The SLQ-25 program develops countermeasure technologies and capabilities to improve ship survivability against future torpedo threats. This technology was used as a foundation to build the SLQ-61Lightweight Tow Torpedo Defense Mission Module for the Littoral Combat Ship as well as other small combat vessels.

New technologies and capabilities are being developed under the Future Naval Capabilities (FNC), Small Business and Innovative Research (SBIR), and other RDT&E initiatives. Under these initiatives, new and emerging hardware and software are evaluated in representative acoustic environments against projected threats through both digital and hardware-in-the-loop simulations to determine their effectiveness and their ability to improve ship survivability. The technology is then incorporated into the appropriate product line.

With the submarine threat increasing each day, the U.S. Navy is likely to forge ahead with SSTD development even if it has to revamp the entire original system concept. Perhaps the U.S. Navy will go the routine of several of the world's other leading navies and focus more heavily on expendable decoys and anti-torpedo torpedoes.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not expected to have any significant impact on this effort at this time.


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