The Program Executive Office, Undersea Warfare Systems hosted the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Heavyweight Torpedo (HWT) Armaments Cooperation Project (ACP) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Commonwealth of Australia, at the Washington Navy Yard on Apr. 13.

The ACP MOU is managed through a Joint Program Office (JPO) integrated into the Undersea Weapons Program Office (PMS 404J) and is comprised of both Australian and U.S. representatives. PMS 404J is supported by the Australian Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, the Australian Defense Science and Technology Group (DSTG), Maritime Explosive Ordnance Systems Program Office, the Naval Undersea Warfare Centers (NUWCs), and academia.

The Australian Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy leverage their own capabilities, experiences and operational environments to achieve maximum synergy in the heavyweight torpedo enterprise. The partnership demonstrates both navies’ shared commitment to maintaining free and open global maritime commons.

“PMS 404J is the true definition of a joint effort,” said Capt. Chris Polk, Undersea Weapons program manager. “Our embedded teams manage all programmatic activities with a shared responsibility to provide both nations with the world’s most capable heavyweight torpedo.”

The celebration was attended by representatives from both countries and included remarks from Australian Defense Attaché to the United States of America and the Head of the Australian Defense Staff, Rear Adm. Ian Murray, and program executive officer, Undersea Warfare Systems, Michael McClatchey. Both speakers highlighted the historical importance of this bi-lateral partnership agreement to develop, acquire and support the MK 48 Advanced Capability (ADCAP) heavyweight torpedo.

Over the decades, PMS 404J advanced significant operational capability and lethality improvements to the MK 48 ADCAP through three major hardware and software upgrades developed and tested by NUWC and the DSTG. These improvements, as well as the annual torpedo build schedules, are executed by the intermediate maintenance activities in both countries using common certification regimes with operating procedures. In-water testing, modeling and simulation efforts, and fleet exercises are utilized to validate all torpedo performance metrics and target future developmental efforts.

The success of the original ACP MOU has led to additional collaborative efforts between the United States and Australia, including an ACP for the AN/BYG-1 Combat Control System and a project arrangement in PMS 404 to co-develop the MK 54 MOD 2 Advanced Lightweight Torpedo. The ACP MOU processes and structures also served as the template for AUKUS, the pioneering trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. In his remarks, McClatchey stressed the significance of the ACP MOU. “With this long history of active partnership and contributions, the MK 48 ACP sets the example and provides the bedrock foundation for future collaborative efforts between the U.S. and Australia,” he said. “BZ to all and keep up the good work—there is MUCH to be done!”