EuroTorp, a consortium formed by three European companies – Naval Group, Thales, and Leonardo, has developed the most advanced lightweight torpedo (LWT) based on the experience and requirements of leading NATO navies. More than 300 sea trials were executed, including two live fire trials in complex scenarios. According to EuroTorp, MU90 addresses 21st Century operational requirements, including sea-proven very shallow water and against midget submarines. Currently in development, the next version of this LWT will also provide anti-torpedo capability. This capability will be operational by the end of the decade. This capability is enabled using improved algorithms, enabling the engagement of faster targets. The warhead is also optimized with an enhanced blast effect in addition to the directional effect of the shaped charge. The type of engagement will be determined before the launch. The new LWT was displayed this week by EuroTorp at the IMDEXASIA2023 maritime exhibition in Singapore.

Over 1,000 units have already been produced and equipped 150 platforms, including surface ships, aircraft, and helicopters. The MU90 can be released from helicopters or maritime patrol aircraft or launched aboard ships. The weapon is currently in service with the navies of France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi.

The 304 kg weapon is 2.85 m long and 323mm in diameter. MU90 relies on passive mode at the initial phase of intercept. It uses a Silver-Oxide Aluminum seawater battery that is energized only when submerged. The battery drives a cavitation-free pump jet delivering silent electric propulsion, which helps keep it undetected by the target until its acoustic seeker switches to active mode. The system operates at variable speeds from 29 to over 50 kt., automatically selected to match the operational scenario and tactics. It offers an operational engagement distance of 12 km. The digital acoustic seeker features multiple transmit/receive beams enabling multi-frequency, parallel processing and operates in simultaneous acoustic modes to enable multi-target tracking, classification, and analysis.

This sophisticated signal processing enables the MU-90 LWT to classify all types of smart decoys and jammers within a few seconds; as the MU90 self-adapts its configuration and tactics according to the evolution of the operational scenario and the target, it keeps focused on its target and closes in to classify and plot an accurate inertial trajectory for the attack. The final approach aims to activate its shaped charge to impact the target’s center of gravity. The warhead weighs 32 kg and uses insensitive explosives to penetrate any double submarine hull and grant depth-independent target destruction capability. It is effective operational capabilities in shallow (minimum water depth of 25 m’ at launch, three m’ to 1,000 m’ operational depth) and confined waters.