Gareth Jennings, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
11 June 2018
The US Navy (USN) is pushing ahead with plans to field the High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) on the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft (MMA), despite recent comments made to the contrary by some senior service officials.
The aircraft original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is to be awarded a sole-source contract for full-rate production (FRP) of the HAAWC Air Launch Accessory (ALA) for use in launching the Mk 54 torpedo from the Poseidon MMA from high altitude.
This notification released by the Department of the Navy on 8 June follows a March 2017 decision by the USN Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group (CPRG) to withdraw its endorsement of the high-altitude anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability.
As noted in the navy’s solicitation, “The primary HAAWC capability requirement is to increase the stand-off range and weapon release altitude for the P-8A Poseidon aircraft during ASW missions for employment of a lightweight torpedo against submarine targets.
“The ALA will be used exclusively with the Mk 54 MOD 0 and MOD 1 torpedoes, and will be carried and released from the weapons bay of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The navy requires capacity to carry and release five HAAWC weapons on the P-8A.”
The HAAWC integrates the ALA kit with a GPS guidance system and folding wings onto a standard Mk 54 torpedo to enable the weapon to fly to the programmed release point and altitude before being released from the ‘wing’. Thereafter, the torpedo falls and is retarded by the standard parachute, and the weapon systems are initiated in the usual way once the weapon enters the water.