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Australian submarine first to fire new heavyweight torpedo

24 July 2008

The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today congratulated the crew of the Australian submarine, HMAS Waller, for being the first submarine to successfully fire a new heavyweight torpedo that has been jointly developed by Australia and the United States (US).

The firing occurred during the Rim of the Pacific 2008 (RIMPAC 08) exercise, involving multiple navies off the coast of Hawaii between June and July.  This controlled exercise resulted in the planned sinking of a retired US warship.

“This represents the first new heavyweight torpedo warshot to be fired by either Navy.  Just as significant is the fact that the warshot torpedo was assembled in Australia,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

The MK 48 Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) torpedo is the latest enhancement for the MK 48.

Considered the world’s premier submarine-launched torpedo, the MK 48 Mod 7 represents a superior capability against both surface ships and submarines with sonar enhancements that make the torpedo an effective weapon in shallow water and in a countermeasure environment.

The development of the CBASS torpedo has been achieved under an Armaments Cooperative Program between the United States Navy (USN) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).  This partnership has established common requirements, interfaces, configurations and maintenance standards enabling any Australian or US submarine to load torpedoes prepared by any Australian or US torpedo maintenance facility.

This submarine partnership has also led to co-development of a new replacement combat system, which is being progressively integrated into USN nuclear submarines and RAN diesel-electric submarines.

This successful live fire exercise underscores the maturity of the joint torpedo and submarine combat system programs for the RAN and USN.

“For Australia in particular, this exercise has been a successful demonstration of the ongoing capability of the Collins Class submarine,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.