The mini-torpedoes could be a game-changer and are set to be fielded on Virginia class submarines in the next few years.
Northrop Grumman has built and tested a new Very Lightweight Torpedo, derived from an earlier U.S. Navy-funded design. The company says it will submit this weapon as an option for that service’s Compact Rapid Attack Weapon program, which is looking to develop a miniature torpedo that can also act as anti-torpedo interceptor and field them first on some Virginia class submarines within the next three to four years.
The Virginia-headquartered defense contractor first revealed the weapon, also referred to by the abbreviation VLWT, on May 21, 2020. The firm says this is the first industry-built torpedo of its kind and that it privately funded the development. However, it is based on design documentation for a Common Very Lightweight Torpedo (CVLWT) that Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory (PSU-ARL) had developed for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and which the service had distributed to defense contractors in 2016. The War Zone had previously written a deep dive into the PSU-ARL design and its potential applications, which you can find here.
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Update: Northrop Grumman Builds Very Lightweight Torpedo for U.S. Navy (Naval News)
WNU Editor: Anti-torpedo interceptor. Wow! What was once science-fiction is now about to become reality.