How this new contract will increase the firepower of the Indian Navy

Co-developed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, the torpedo is designed to operate in both deep and shallow water

MK 54 is an advanced light torpedo designed and developed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in conjunction with the US Navy. Image courtesy: US Navy Photo / Wiki Commons

The Department of Defense signed a contract for Rs 423 crore with the United States to purchase an MK 54 torpedo to equip its P-81 maritime surveillance aircraft with anti-submarine capability .

The Defense Department signed the contract with the US government on Thursday, officials said.

Here is a better understanding of this weapon and how it will help the Indian Navy.

torpedo MK 54

The MK 54 Light Torpedo is a 12.75 inch (324 mm) Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) torpedo used by the United States Navy.

Co-developed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, the MK 54 is designed to operate in shallow water and in the presence of countermeasures, it can track, classify and attack underwater targets.

The torpedo weighs around 608 pounds, while its warhead weighs around 96.8 pounds and is highly explosive.

According to the US Director Operational Test and Evaluation, the primary use of this equipment is for offensive purposes when deployed by anti-submarine warfare planes and helicopters, and for defensive purposes when deployed. by ships and against fast, deep diving and slow nuclear submarines. – mobile, silent diesel-electric submarines.

The MK 54 is transported by the US Navy and the Royal Australian Navy.

According to Raytheon, the MK 54 combines the advanced sonar transceiver from the MK 50 torpedo with the warhead and propulsion system inherited from the old MK 46.

The torpedo also underwent rigorous testing – over 25,000 high-fidelity simulations and was put to the test in water testing as well.

Dealing with India

The US State Department approved in April 2020 the “foreign military sale” to the Indian government of 16 MK 54 All Up Round (LWT) light torpedoes, three MK 54 exercise torpedoes.

At the time, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said, “The torpedoes will enhance India’s ability to conduct anti-submarine warfare missions and serve as a ‘deterrent against regional threats and [India’s] defense of the fatherland. ”

India intends to use Mk 54 torpedoes on its P-8I patrol plane.

The Pentagon Defense and Security Cooperation Agency also said the offer underscored “the United States’ commitment to share cutting-edge technology with India and to ensure that both countries benefit of the benefits of a secure and stable South Asia “.

This statement is significant given the threat China poses to the two countries. In recent times, China has shown its muscle power in the Indian Ocean, which can be seen as a threat to India.

In addition, it has also deployed its muscles in the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, posing a threat not only to India, but also to Australia, another ally of the United States. United States of America.

Some experts also believe this could be how the United States is warning China and trying to keep the balance in the geopolitical context. In the recent past, the Quad collective, made up of India, Japan, Australia and the United States, said they would do everything possible to ensure peace in the Indo-Pacific region.

chinese naval power

While India may be celebrating its MK 54 torpedo deal, it is far from catching up with China’s naval force.
In terms of the number of ships – surface ships and submarines – China has the world’s largest navy, according to the US Department of Defense.

a AFP report, showing figures from the US Department of Defense, said that China had around 360 ships at the end of 2020. The Chinese Navy is also expected to grow to 400 ships in 2025 and 425 in 2030.

Beijing also has six nuclear missile launching submarines (SSBNs) armed with nuclear missiles, as well as around 40 attack submarines, six of which are nuclear-powered, according to Military Balance, the annual assessment of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. of military capacity around the world.

With contributions from agencies

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