We Present the First New Torpedo From the U.S Navy in Decades

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At last, the U.S Navy has developed a new torpedo after decades of silence. The latest Very Lightweight Torpedo (VLWT) from Northrop Grumman stands out from the conventional torpedoes because of its capabilities.

Its unique features include the ability to launch from an aircraft that is lightweight.

VLWT Design

The original role of the VLWT is to thwart a torpedo attack against aircraft carriers. However, it works as an offensive and defensive weapon. Aircraft, submarines, and surface ships can launch the VLWT as a countermeasure against offensive torpedoes or as an attack against enemy vessels.

The VLWT is a mini-torpedo that vessels and aircraft launch at the early stages of an enemy attack. It features a specific mission software in its operating system. Before firing, a software loading process takes place.

The prototype of the VLWT comes from the 2016 design that the Applied Research Laboratory of the Pennsylvania State University shared with the industrial manufacturers of defense weapons. Notably, Northrop Grumman had made independent funding of the research and development of the design.

Its Operation

The new torpedo features a compact rapid attack weapon (CRAW) offensive mode. The feature helps the torpedo to hunt submarines.

Upon the detection of an enemy vessel, the CRAW activates, and the onboard sensors of the torpedo initiate the defensive mode.

The countermeasure anti-torpedo (CAT), which is the defensive mode of the new torpedo, converts the torpedo into an interceptor. The launcher of the VLWT takes a protective position on the path of an enemy, thus thwarting an attack against an aircraft carrier.

Unlike the conventional carrier defense system, the new system can protect several ships.

The VLWT Development

The Northrop Grumman maintained the development of the torpedo carrier defense system even though the navy had shelved it. Currently, the company markets the new torpedo as a multi-mission weapon given the ability of the VLWT to offend and defend.

However, it will take the company four years to start the production of the VLWT.

For more on this exciting development, watch the video below:

Bianca Van der Watt

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