August 15, 2009:
Britain is putting yet another complex weapons under a long term maintenance contract. Britain will pay $615 million to have its inventory of Sting Ray and Spearfish torpedoes maintained and updated over the next ten years. This will save about twenty percent over conventional methods (employing, more, less well trained and experienced navy personnel). The long term agreement has penalty clauses for failure to perform, and is basically similar to commercial contracts for maintaining complex equipment. Since these weapons tend to spend all their useful lives just waiting around, it makes sense to use commercial maintenance methods to keep things like missiles and torpedoes ready for action. The maintenance contracts take into account the possibility of combat, or even an extended period of war. Navies, in particular, have long employed large numbers of civilian technicians in wartime,
Complex is what these two torpedoes are, and much in need of good maintenance. The Spearfish is a nearly two ton, 21 inch (533mm) torpedo carried by all British submarines. The Sting Ray is a smaller (.27 ton, 340mm) torpedo carried by helicopters or patrol aircraft that are hunting submarines.