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RoK To Equip P-8A with MK 54 Torpedoes

The Republic of Korea (RoK) will soon get 31 MK 54 all up round lightweight torpedoes to equip its six new P-8A aircraft, being bought from the US. The MK 54 torpedoes is being purchased at an estimated cost of US$72 million, according to RoK defence officials. The deal includes torpedo containers, Recoverable Exercise Torpedoes (REXTORP) with containers, Fleet Exercise Section (FES) and fuel tanks, air launch accessories for fixed wing, torpedo spare parts, training, publications, support and test equipment. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Integrated Defence System.

Last year, the US State Department had approved the potential sale of six P-8A patrol aircraft to the Republic of Korea under an estimated US$2.1 billion contract. South Korea’s decision to pick Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon as its new maritime patrol aircraft was made known in June 2018. The P-8A would replace the fleet of P-3C Orion MPAs which entered service in the 1990s.

Integrated onboard the MH-60R maritime helicopter, the MK 54 is the primary weapon for the helicopter’s ASW mission. Most recently, the US Navy successfully launched the first MK 54 lightweight torpedo from the P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The torpedo adds a critical capability to these long-range ASW, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, which will be capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. The MK 54 programme leverages the most modern torpedo technologies from the MK 50 and MK 48 ADCAP (advanced capability) programmes. It also utilizes the proven MK 46 warhead and propulsion subsystems, according to Raytheon.

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