On 28 February 2023, after signature by the Nations of the Programme Decision and Memorandum of Understanding, the OCCAR-EA Director Joachim Sucker and the Director of EuroTorp Giovanni Oliveri signed the contract for the In-Service Support of the Light Weight Torpedo (LWT) MU90. The LWT Programme covers In-Service Support (ISS) for the MU90 Impact torpedoes that the Participating States currently have in service. It builds on a 30-year joint development and production programme between France and Italy to meet 21st century Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operational requirements, including shallow water and submarine hunting-killing capabilities.
Through an intensive negotiation, OCCAR, with the continuous involvement of EuroTorp and its members (THALES, NavalGroup and LEONARDO) and with the strong support of the Participating States negotiated and agreed an optimised ISS contract. The LWT programme marks another major step forward in OCCAR’s promotion of cooperative complex armaments programme management. OCCAR-EA hopes that it may provide a positive signal to other possible Participating States. This new programme involving Germany, France and Italy, now also welcomes Australia for the first time as a Participating State.
In signing the Programme Decision, Australia’s Head of Land Systems within the Capability Acquisition and Support Group, Major General Andrew Bottrell, noted the significance of Australia’s participation in the OCCAR Light Weight Torpedo Programme and highlighted the importance of collaborative acquisition: “Australia’s interest in the OCCAR Light Weight Torpedo Programme is not only in realising cost and schedule benefits from cooperation in MU90 sustainment, but in the wider benefits that arise from such collaboration including standardisation and interoperability among allies.”
The MU90 Impact is a Franco-Italian advanced lightweight anti-submarine torpedo of the 3rd generation developed for the French and Italian navies, as well as for export. It is designed to compete with and outperform the United States-built Mark 54 in the anti-submarine role, and has also been developed in a special MU90 Hard Kill version for torpedo anti-torpedo defence. The MU90 is built by EuroTorp, a consortium of French and Italian companies. The MU90 is designed to be capable of discriminating between actual and perceived threat, known versions of anechoic coatings, and various decoys. It is also capable of launch speeds up to 400 knots (740 km/h; 460 mph), allowing it to be dropped from maritime patrol aircraft flying at high speeds, or rocket-assist launchers.