On 29 July, TDW GmbH was awarded a contract from BAE Systems for the qualification and delivery of the insensitive munition (IM) blast warhead due to be used in the upgrade of the Royal Navy’s heavyweight Spearfish torpedo. This marks the largest order in the company’s history.
Blast warheads can be used to combat both surface and underwater targets effectively. Ships in particular can be combated most effectively using a blast warhead, which generates a shock wave.
Through the initial assessment and development phases, TDW have played a leading role in the design and testing of the new Spearfish warhead. To date the testing performed on the warhead has included IM threat tests (to demonstrate insensitivity) and underwater trials (to demonstrate performance). TDW’s experience gained through the Sting Ray warhead programme has helped to ensure that the development of the Spearfish Upgrade warhead could be carried out so effectively.
“The conclusion of Demonstration Phase 1 for the Spearfish Upgrade IM Warhead on time, cost and quality along with the proven collaboration between BAE Systems Maritime Services and TDW laid the foundation for this success. This order shows that we have mastered the complete range of warhead systems up to and including the heavyweight torpedo,” declared TDW Managing Director Ulrich Störchle. “This insensitive blast warhead will improve the safety and effectiveness of this torpedo significantly.”
Les Gregory, Product and Training Services Director at BAE Systems Maritime Services said: “TDW play a vital role in the Spearfish Upgrade programme by providing expertise and leadership in the development of the warhead. To date the blast warhead has proved its value in several tests and the cooperation between BAE Systems and TDW has been exemplary.”
Further qualification trials to prepare and qualify the upgraded Spearfish torpedo, including the warhead, are planned for the next five years. TDW will complete the final warhead demonstration phase by 2018, with the supply of production warheads, manufactured at TDW’s facility in Schrobenhausen (Germany), due to start in 2019.