‘Critical turning point’ as US Navy authorizes full-rate production of HAWC anti-submarine weapon to hunt underwater ships


Boeing, a US defense company, has been awarded a contract by the US Navy for full-rate production of the High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare, or HAAWC, capability, and work is expected to begin within the month. coming.

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The advanced weapons system, carried by the P-8A multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft, will enable the Navy to undertake anti-submarine warfare at greater heights and ranges.

HAAWC, an all-weather add-on kit, allows the MK 54 torpedo to be discharged near or below the P-8A Poseidon’s cruising altitude.

According to Naval News, program manager Dewayne Donley called the milestone a critical milestone as it brings HAAWC one step closer to becoming fully operational and in use by the Navy.

The contract calls for the production of HAAWC, or ALA, Air Launch Accessories, kits and containers for the Navy and other customers. In addition, Boeing will additionally offer engineering services such as design studies, testing, prototypes and evaluation of production-related issues.

High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare, or HAAWC, Weapon Capability

Repair services include hardware repair and maintenance services for government-owned ALA HAWCs and related equipment and materials. A supply order option also allows the Navy to obtain spare equipment for the program.

“Our solution turns the MK 54 into a precision weapon in both GPS-assisted and GPS-prohibited environments,” Donley said. “The HAAWC system provides flexibility by allowing the Navy to perform anti-submarine operations throughout the P-8A’s flight envelope.”

The Boeing HAAWC is a Modular Air Launch Accessory Kit, or ALA, that can be attached to a Mark 54 torpedo to convert it into a precision-guided weapon. The ALA deploys a stabilizer to make its targeted entry into the water at the point of separation from the ALA.

To date, the worldwide fleet of P-8s in operation have flown more than 450,000 accident-free hours. Long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft can conduct wide, maritime and littoral operations, as well as humanitarian and search and rescue missions around the world entire.

HAAWC concept

The HAAWC principle is simple. The folding wing kit includes a flight control computer and GPS, and it connects to a Mark 54 torpedo through necklaces. After being launched, HAAWC spreads its wings and heads towards its distant goal.

When it reaches the designated target area, the wing kit releases the torpedo, lowering it into the sea with a parachute. The Mark 54 torpedo activates when submerged in the sea to hunt down submarines autonomously, just as if launched from an aircraft or ship and delivered directly to the target.

Without the HAAWC kit, a Mark 54 torpedo must be dropped from an aircraft at low altitude. As a result, the HAAWC concept represents a significantly increased degree of flexibility in engagement tactics and aerial anti-submarine warfare platform capabilities, particularly for the P-8 Poseidon.

Illustration of Boeing HAAWC

HAAWC also allows the P-8 and other ASW aircraft to pursue subterranean targets without risking contact with anti-aircraft defenses that may be deployed near the submarine or underwater operating area .

A P-8 can launch an assault from a position as high as 30,000 feet without wasting time descending over the ocean with this kit. The addition of the new kit means that the P-8 will no longer have to expose low and slow, a dangerous position for any combat aircraft.

With the help of this HAAWC kit, the P-8 will also be able to act as a kind of arsenal ship for other anti-submarine assets, including friendly ships, helicopters and even submarines, launching torpedoes great distances whenever necessary without even following the enemy submarine itself.

Instead, the P-8 can guide winged torpedoes using “third-party” targeting data from various sources.

Boeing P-8 Poseidon - Wikipedia
Boeing P-8 Poseidon – Wikipedia

As America’s potential adversaries gradually implement anti-access/area denial measures, this capability becomes more critical than ever.

Experts believe the HAAWC system could be modified for use by shore-based launchers, providing versatile and relatively inexpensive coastal defense against stealthy submarines.

In this way, countries could endanger enemy submarines along their entire coastline by adopting HAAWC without having to deploy swarms of aircraft or patrol ships equipped with torpedoes.


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