At next week’s Euronaval exhibition in Paris, Saab will be unveiling the latest version of its Lightweight Torpedo (SLWT). Already ordered by Sweden and Finland, the compact submarine hunter/killer weapon is designed to be launched from a variety of sea and air platforms and is tailored to both blue water conditions and the complex environment of the shallow Baltic Sea.
With increased tensions between Russia and NATO, as well as China’s growing regional and global ambitions, anti-submarine systems are gathering interest at a level not seen since the Cold War. This is especially true in dealing with possible Russian incursions in the Baltic, which is notorious for its shallow water, variable salinity, temperature layers, complex seabed topography and the bewildering noise levels caused by heavy sea traffic.
To deal with this ideal submarine hidey hole, Saab has been developing its SLWT system aimed at both the Swedish Royal Navy and global export markets. Though it can operate in the open sea, Saab says the new torpedo works best in dealing with littoral anti-submarine warfare.
At first glance, the SLWT doesn’t seem like much when compared with the huge torpedoes like the US Mark 48 and British Spearfish. It’s only 2.85 m (9.35 ft) long, 40 cm (15.75 in) wide and weighs in at 340 kg (750 lb) soaking wet, but inside, it has a state-of-the-art, fully digital homing system that gives it a fire-and-forget and wire-guided capability.