U.S. Approves Sale of 18 MK 48 Mod 6AT Heavy Weight Torpedos to Taiwan

The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale of 18 MK-48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology (AT) Heavy Weight Torpedoes (HWT) to Taiwan for an estimated cost of $180 million.

The sale is being executed through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees FMS sales, delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 20.

Taiwan, through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), has earlier requested to buy 18 MK-48 Mod 6AT Heavy Weight Torpedoes. Also included are spare parts, support and test equipment, shipping and shipping containers, operator manuals, technical documentation, training, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics support.

There are no prime contractors associated with this case as all materials will be procured from U.S. Navy stocks.

A DSCA statement said that this proposed sale is consistent with U.S. law and policy as expressed in Public Law 96-8.

“This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability. The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”

“The proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability in current and future defensive efforts. The recipient will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen homeland defense. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region”, the statement added.

MK 48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology (AT)

The MK 48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology (AT) is a heavyweight torpedo designed for optimum effectiveness against all targets, in both littoral and deep-water environments.

MK 48 heavyweight torpedo
MK 48 heavyweight submarine-launched torpedo.

As upgrades to the MK 48 Mod 4, the MK 48 Mod 6AT use MK 48 sonar, guidance and control, electrical power system, and quieting technology in order to maximize weapon effectiveness and minimize cost. The torpedo is capable of autonomous operation or control via wire link. The MK 48 Mod 6AT features advanced sonar, combined with an advanced digital signal processor for improved low Doppler target detection and a search volume of more than 1.6 billion cubic meters.

MK 48 heavyweight torpedo
An MK 48 heavyweight torpedo.

Software-based guidance and control enables autonomous operation, “fire and forget” tactics, simultaneous multiple target engagement and close-in attack. MK 48 quieting technology applied to the MK 48 Mod 4 propulsion system significantly reduces self-noise to enable covert deployment and minimize detection. All MK 48 torpedoes use Otto Fuel II as the propellant. Hailed as an inexpensive and safe alternative to hydrogen peroxide-based fuels and electric propulsion, Otto Fuel II has an unblemished safety record during 30 years of use on U.S. submarines. It was designed with occupational safety in mind, can be safely stored for decades, and its use does not impose any special construction or isolation requirements. Otto Fuel II is a stable, safe, high-energy density fuel providing longrange capability to MK 48 torpedoes.

The MK 48 Mod 6AT has been proven through the successful completion of more than 8,600 Mod 5/6 in-water exercise and warshot trials. MK 48 has successfully completed five warshot live-fire tests, including two SINKEX exercises. Rigorous testing through more than 20,000 hardware-in- the-loop simulations has demonstrated the superior performance of the MK 48. Its performance and reliability have made it a valued weapon in the U.S. submarine force arsenal for more than ten years.

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