India successfully test-fired a long-range Supersonic Missile-Assisted Torpedo (SMART) off the Balasore coast in Odisha today. A defence official said the weapon system is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Navy.
“The system has been designed to enhance anti-submarine warfare capability far beyond the conventional range of the torpedo,” the DRDO said.
The day before yesterday, India had successfully flight-tested indigenously developed helicopter-launched stand-off anti-tank (SANT) missile in Rajasthan’s Pokhran firing ranges.
The defence ministry said the flight-testing, carried out by DRDO and the Indian Air Force (IAF), was “successful” in meeting all the mission objectives of the missile. The weapon, developed for the IAF, can neutralise targets in a range up to 10 km, it said.
Prior to that, a series of successful test-firing of the Extended Range Pinaka rocket system (Pinaka-ER) was carried out over a span of three days.
An anti-submarine missile is a standoff anti-submarine weapon. Often a variant of anti-ship missile designs anti-submarine systems typically uses a jet or rocket engine, to deliver: an explosive warhead aimed directly at a submarine, a depth charge, or a homing torpedo that is carried from a launch ship, or another platform, to the vicinity of a target.
Depth charges were the earliest weapons designed for use by ships against submerged submarines. These explosives were initially dropped as the ship moved over the presumed location of a submarine. Before World War II, shipboard sonar was unable to maintain contact with a submarine at close range.
Various mortar-type projectors, including Hedgehog and Squid, were devised during World War II to allow a ship to maintain sonar contact while lobbing explosive charges toward the submarine.
During the Cold War, missiles were developed to provide greater range with reduced recoil. Some missiles and rockets, such as Hong Sang Eo carry homing torpedoes to provide terminal guidance for the warhead.
The advantage of an anti-submarine missile is the attack stand-off range. The Swedish Bofors 375 mm m/50 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) rockets, in the past commonly used by Sweden, France, Japan and Germany for instance, can travel as far as 3,600 m depending on the rocket used.
The USSR developed its own anti-submarine rockets in the RBU series and these are still in use in Russia and in countries using Russian designed ships. Today anti-submarine rockets have been phased out in most western navies, replaced by the Homing ASW Torpedo.
Long-range anti-submarine missile of India
SMART, made in India, is a canister-based hybrid system that involves a missile carrier to achieve faster speed as well as the long-range while the torpedo inside acts as an anti-submarine warfare payload. SMART carries a range of 650 km with a two-way data link. The long-range weapon can be launched from a warship or a truck-based coastal battery.
The long-range SMART has been developed by the Defence Research Development Laboratory, Naval Science and Technological Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat as part of a fusion project to combine technologies of institutions dealing with land and naval-based armaments.
Further help was provided by the Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment for its velocity reduction mechanism that acts before releasing an autonomous lightweight torpedo towards the designated target.