The UK Ministry of Defence has selected the Sting Ray Mod 1 acoustic homing lightweight torpedo as the next ordnance for the Royal Air Force’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
The service will install the UK-manufactured weapon alongside the P-8A’s existing US Navy Mk54 torpedo once the corresponding integration processes are complete.
The Sting Ray Mod 1 torpedo can be deployed for air and surface operations. Prior to its acceptance into the Royal Air Force, the capability was already employed by some Royal Navy ships.
Alongside the P-8A, the weapon can be fired from helicopters, frigates, and other maritime patrol systems against all types of undersea threats.
By combining acoustic homing and navigation technologies, the Sting Ray Mod 1 can localize, identify, and neutralize targets without human intervention.
Additional benefits of using the Sting Ray include low service-life costs and minimal intrusive maintenance.
Weapon ‘for Decades to Come’
According to the Royal Air Force, the Sting Ray Mod 1’s development was based on previous advancements from the original Mod 0 variant.
The approach is expected to retain Sting Ray’s capability as the “premier” autonomous underwater ordnance “for decades to come.”
“The use of Sting Ray and Mk54 torpedoes gives the UK Poseidon fleet flexibility and interoperability with our allies,” Royal Air Force Poseidon Futures Program Senior Manager Group Capt. Richard Osselton stated.
“I’m delighted to see integration of Sting Ray Mod 1 has commenced at RAF Lossiemouth.”
Supporting Poseidon Fleet
The new Sting Ray torpedo’s induction followed the UK’s Poseidon procurement program spearheaded through a foreign military sale with the US in 2019.
The initiative ordered a total of nine P-8As for the British military. The first aircraft was handed over to the UK the same year. Shipping for the remaining planes was completed in 2021.