Here's a bit of good news ... A NavSea public relations release (1) describes recent tests of the Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) conducted aboard the USS Bush (CVN-77). The system combines an automated torpedo detection capability with an active, hard-kill torpedo defense weapon consisting of an encapsulated miniature torpedo. Like a surface to air missile, the mini-torpedo is launched to intercept the attacking torpedo. NavSea describes the seven test iterations as successful though without providing any details.
The release notes that the system is only an engineering prototype. Still, this is a capability that has been an obvious need for decades so it’s good to see progress being made. The only disquieting aspect of this is the 2035 date listed as the goal for equipping the ships. That’s a long way off for a system that’s at the full scale prototype stage.
A Feb 2012 Appropriation/Budget Activity document (2) describes the intent to outfit several carriers over the next couple of years with developmental versions of the system rather than wait for production models due to the high threat level.
On a related note, the British Navy has an SSTD based on passive countermeasures that is already operational.
We’ll keep an eye on this system as it continues to develop!