The US Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) a $123.7 million contract for the delivery of heavyweight torpedoes to Taiwan and Australia.
According to the contract announcement from November 23, the company is expected to complete deliveries of the MK-48 torpedo to the two countries, and the US Navy, by July 2025.
However, the contract also includes options worth up to $1.1 billion that would see SAIC continue torpedo deliveries until 2033.
The contract announcement did not specify how many torpedoes exactly Taiwan will receive and how many Australia. Australia already operates the MK-48 while Taiwan did not have this capability before.
According to a State Department approval for a potential sale of the torpedoes to Taiwan from May 2020, Taiwan sought to purchase 18 heavyweight torpedoes for an estimated value of $180 million.
MK 48 is a heavyweight acoustic-homing torpedo with sophisticated sonar, all-digital guidance-and-control systems, digital fusing systems, and propulsion improvements. Its digital guidance system allows for repeated upgrades to counter evolving threats through software upgrades. It weighs 3,744 pounds
and has a high-explosive, 650-pound warhead.
The US does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to provide the island with defensive capabilities. Earlier this year, Boeing received a $220 million contract for work on the delivery of Harpoon coastal defense systems (HCDS) to Taiwan, while the State Department also approved a possible sale of 155mm M109A6 Paladin medium self-propelled howitzer systems.