On May 20th, the US Department of State approved the sale of 18 MK-48 Mod6 Advanced Technology (AT) Heavy Weight Torpedoes (HWT) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $180 million to Taiwan, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.
The request for the purchase was made by The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US.
In addition to the 18 torpedoes, what’s 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.
This would serve well the US national and security interests in the region, as well as assist Taiwan in bulking up its defense “in current and future defensive efforts.”
“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 Mk 48 Mod 6 AT HWT is an export analogue of the torpedoes Mk 48 Mod 6 ADCAP and Mk 48 Mod 6 ASOT of the US Navy.
Deliveries of Mk 48 Mod 6 AT torpedoes for export through the FMS line have been carried out since 2011, the known recipients were the fleets of Brazil and Turkey.
In this case, the Mk 48 Mod 6 AT HWT should be delivered for two single relatively modern diesel-electric submarines of the Taiwanese fleet of the Hai Lung type, both built by the Netherlands in the 1980s, both in service from 1987-1988.
Currently, Hai Lung type submarines continue to use West German export 533-mm AEG SUT 264 Mod 2 electric torpedoes, ordered simultaneously with these boats and assembled for political reasons in Indonesia by the Indonesian Aircraft State Association IPTN as their main weapon. – Taiwan got the last of 200 torpedoes from there in 1998.
Currently, German SUT torpedoes, developed in the 1960s, are considered completely obsolete in the Taiwanese Navy, and negotiations have been ongoing with the United States for the purchase of modern torpedoes of the Mk 48 series, but only in 2016 did the American side agree to their delivery.
In June 2017, a DSCA notice was issued regarding the possible upcoming delivery of 46 Mk 48 Mod 6 AT torpedoes to Taiwan in the amount of $250 million, but this delivery was never implemented.
In 2019, the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of China (which is the official name of Taiwan) approved a plan for the purchase of 40 torpedoes of the Mk 48 Mod 6 AT, but the current DSCA notice has only been issued for the possible sale of 18 torpedoes.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the sale, calling for the U.S. to stop any further arms sales and military ties with Taiwan to “avoid further damage” in relations.
“China is firmly opposed to the US arms sales to Taiwan and has made solemn representations to the US,” ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a statement.
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. With guaranteed supportability through 2025, it is a cost-effective, up-to-date configuration of the MK 48 family designed to handle emerging threats.
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.
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