Brazil Cleared to Buy MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes in $70 Million Deal

Brazil Cleared to Buy MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes in $70 Million Deal

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Brazil of MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes and related equipment for an estimated cost of $70 million. The Government of Brazil has requested to buy twenty-two (22) MK 54 conversion kits – to convert MK 46 Mod 5 A(S) torpedoes to MK 54 Mod 0 lightweight torpedoes. Also included are torpedo containers, Recoverable Exercise Torpedoes (REXTORP) with containers, Fleet Exercise Section (FES) and fuel tanks, air launch accessories for rotary wing, torpedo spare parts, propellant, lanyard start assembly suspensions bands, thermal batteries, training, publications, support and test equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of an important regional partner that is an important force for political stability and economic progress in South America. The Government of Brazil intends to utilize MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes on its Sikorsky S-70B “Seahawk” aircraft and surface ships.Implementation of this proposed sale will not require long-term assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Brazil; however, U.S. Government Engineering and Technical Services may be required on an interim basis for training and technical assistance. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Integrated Defense System, Portsmouth, RI. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

The Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo (formerly known as Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo, or LHT) is a standard 12.75-inch (324 mm) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedo used by the United States Navy. The older Mk 46, designed for open-ocean use, performed poorly in the littoral areas, where the Navy envisioned itself likely to operate in the future. The Mk 54 was created by combining the homing portion of the Mk 50 and the warhead and propulsion sections of the Mk 46, improved for better performance in shallow water, and with the addition of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to further reduce costs. It shares much of the software and computer hardware of the Mk 48 ADCAP heavy torpedo, based around a custom PowerPC 603e chip. Developmental testing began in July 1999, and a successful critical design review was completed in November 1999.

The low-cost Mk54 upgrade kit allows easy conversions of the existing Mk46 torpedo. In May 2019 Canada requested 425 Mk 54 lightweight torpedo conversion kits, plus ancillary training, exercise and maintenance spare parts. This procurement will allow Canada to upgrade its current inventory of Mk 46 torpedoes. If the sale is finalized, the Mk 54 lightweight torpedoes are expected to be used on the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class ships, and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CP-140 Aurora aircraft. The torpedoes are also planned to be deployed from the CH-148 maritime helicopters. The Mk54 upgrade kit has the ability to tackle submarine threats in both deep and shallow water. Using sophisticated processing algorithms, the torpedo can track, classify and attack underwater targets.

A P-8A Poseidon assigned to the Bureau of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 replicates the characteristics of an MK-54 torpedo. (U.S. Navy photo by: Greg L. Davis)