The US Navy is having sailors train on an ineffective aircraft carrier weapon it's getting rid of

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) transits the Atlantic Ocean,

  • The US Navy is still training sailors aboard a handful of the service's Nimitz-class aircraft carriers to use the anti-torpedo system it plans to rip out, The War Zone reports.
  • The Anti-Torpedo Torpedo Defense System, part of the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense system, is unreliable at best, a Pentagon report concluded earlier this year.
  • The Navy recently released photos of training from the end of July that showed sailors aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower training with the system.
  • Naval Sea Systems Command says that as long as the system is on the ship, sailors will be spending time training to operate it in order to maintain their qualifications for deployment.
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The US Navy is having its sailors train on an aircraft carrier weapon system that the service is planning to rip out of its Nimitz-class carriers due to its ineffectiveness.

Sailors continue to train on the Anti-Torpedo Torpedo Defense System (ATTDS), a weapon system that was designed to counter one of the single greatest threats to an aircraft carrier - torpedoes, The War Zone reports, noting that the Navy recently released images of sailors aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower training on the ATTDS for a Board of Inspection and Survey.Advertisement

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The most recent training, which involved firing the weapon system, took place in late July. The material survey for which the crew was preparing requires proficiency with all onboard systems, and that they are functional and properly maintained.

Sailors stow an anti-torpedo torpedo aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).

The ATTDS, part of the broader Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) system, is installed and operational aboard the Eisenhower, as well as the USS Harry S. Truman, USS George H.W. Bush, USS Nimitz, and USS Theodore Roosevelt. But that doesn't mean it actually works to intercept incoming torpedoes in time to save the ship.

The Navy has abandoned its plans to develop the SSTD and is in the process of removing it from the carriers on which it has been installed, the Pentagon's Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation said in a report released earlier this year. Read more: US Navy admits failure on $760 million weapon to protect its aircraft carriers from an age-old threatAdvertisement

The anti-torpedo system was a $760 million project that never really went anywhere.

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Hector Felix, from Atlanta, fastens a bolt on an anti-torpedo torpedo aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).

In principle, the Torpedo Warning System (TWS), a component of the ATTDS, would detect an incoming threat and then send launch information to another piece, the Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo (CAT), an interceptor that would be launched into the water to neutralize the incoming torpedo. Advertisement

The DOT&E report noted that the "TWS demonstrated some capability to detect incoming torpedoes," but there were also false positives. It added that the "CAT demonstrated some capability to defeat an incoming torpedo" but had "uncertain reliability."

The report also said that the anti-torpedo torpedo's lethality was untested, meaning that the Navy is not even sure the weapon could destroy or deflect an incoming torpedo. The best the service could say is that there's a possibility it would work.

Despite having plans to remove the SSTD from its carriers, a project that should be completed by 2023, the Navy continues to have sailors train on the system, even as the service reviews training to identify potential detriments to readiness.Advertisement

"The Navy is planning to remove ATTDS from aircraft carriers incrementally through fiscal year 2023 as the ships cycle through shipyard periods," Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) spokesperson William Couch told The War Zone.

"The Navy is sustaining the ATTDS systems that are still installed on some vessels, where it is necessary for the Sailors to train with the system to maintain their qualifications in preparation for future deployments," he added.

In other words, it appears that the reason for the continued training is simply that the system is on the ship and won't be removed until ships have scheduled shipyard time, making the ability to operate it an unavoidable requirement.Advertisement

INSIDER reached out to NAVSEA for clarity but has yet to receive a response.