British Navy HMS Talent submarine conducts final trials with upgraded Spearfish torpedo


According to a statement published by the British Navy on February 5, 2021, the British Navy nuclear-powered Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Talent has conducted the final trials with the world’s most advanced Spearfish torpedo.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 British Navy HMS Talent submarine carries out Spearfish torpedo trials off the west coast of Scotland. (Picture source British Navy)


During the three-day trial, the cutting-edge Spearfish was fired at Talent three times – and was programmed to safely pass the submarine to ensure there was no risk of the boat torpedoing herself. The trials provided valuable data in the final stages of the upgraded torpedo’s development ahead of its impending entry into service.

The Spearfish upgrade will ensure the British Navy submarine service continues to possess a very credible weapon system, capable of dealing with potential future threats. Spearfish has been the Royal Navy’s heavyweight torpedo for nearly 30 years and can break the back of frigates, destroyers, and similar-sized warships, as well as take out any underwater threats.

The enhanced torpedo features a new warhead, new, safer fuel system, a smarter electronic ‘brain’, and a fiber-optic guidance link with its parent submarine to improve its accuracy and lethality. The operational version of the weapon will be introduced to all front-line Royal Navy submarines by 2025.

The torpedoes were then recovered and work is now ongoing to study the data from the trial to support decisions made in the next phases of the program as the torpedo moves towards Initial Operating Capability.

HMS Talent is the sixth of seven Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered submarines of the Royal Navy that was launched in April 1988 and commissioned in May 1990. It was the second time Talent, the second oldest boat in the RN's flotilla, was selected for Spearfish trials, with a Royal Navy, Defence Equipment & Support, and BAE team heading aboard.

The Spearfish torpedo is the heavy torpedo used by the submarines of the British Royal Navy. the torpedo was designed and manufactured by BAE Systems. Now in the final phase of a major upgrade program, Spearfish will benefit from significant advances in its homing, warhead and tactical systems. Together with a high bandwidth fibre optic data link between the torpedo and the launching vessel’s combat system, it is the most effective targeted weapon in its class addressing the present day and projected threat over the coming decades. The Spearfish torpedo has a weight of 1,850 kg, a length of 7 m, and a diameter of 533 mm. She has a maximum firing range of 54 km and a warhead weighing 300 kg.


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