30 Juni 2016
The trials saw two torpedoes successfully launched from a Seagull USV. (photo : Elbit Systems)
Elbit Systems has conducted torpedo launch trials from its Seagull unmanned surface vessel (USV) in waters off the port of Haifa.
The tests involved two firings of a lightweight torpedo; however, the company would not disclose to IHS Jane's which torpedo was utilised except to say that it is an "off-the-shelf" solution.
The purpose of the trials was to verify and demonstrate the installation and launch of a torpedo, rather than test the capability in a target engagement cycle. "We wanted to prove that all systems functioned and that a torpedo could be launched from such a small vessel," the spokesperson said.
During the trials the Seagull operated in a swell of around 1 m (Sea State 3), although the torpedo launch capability can be utilised in higher Sea States, according to the spokesperson.
The launcher configuration for the trials represents that which will ultimately be used operationally, the spokesperson said, noting that this meets the tactical deployment considerations for the torpedo.
Seagull is designed to offer a multimission USV capability, filling a wide range of roles with an initial focus on mine countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Wider applications are set to include maritime security and force protection - the platform can be fitted with a remote weapon station - and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), among others.
Further tests of Seagull's torpedo capability - and of other payloads - are scheduled to take place, the spokesperson confirmed. For ASW operations, Seagull will be fitted with an L-3 Ocean Systems HELRAS low-frequency dipping sonar.
Seagull is 12 m long with a draft of just 0.8 m and a beam of 3.3 m. It has a top speed of 32 kt, can carry up to 2,500 kg of useful payload, and has the capacity for 3,500 litres of fuel, which equates to an operational endurance of 96 hours.