India to join heavyweight torpedo club
India’s underwater weaponry is set to get more fire power with the Navy deciding to induct indigenously developed heavyweight torpedo ‘Varunastra’ into its arsenal. With this, India will join a group of only eight countries to have the capability to manufacture heavyweight torpedoes. The weapon has been indigenously developed by Naval Science and Technology Laboratory, Visakhapatnam.
- Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in Hyderabad, has signed a contract worth Rs 1,187 crore to manufacture the torpedoes to arm both warships and submarines.
- BDL said that the manufacturing would take place at its Visakhapatnam unit in collaboration with DRDO.
- The Varunastra is a shiplaunched, electrically-propelled underwater weapon equipped with one of the most advanced automatic and remote-controlled guidance systems. The weapon system uses its own intelligence in tracing the target.
- Varunastra is considered to be 95% indigenous. BDL, which was involved in the production of the torpedo, had earlier delivered it to the Navy in 2016 which evaluated it. Subsequently, a decision was taken to order for the production.
- Varunastra can hit stealth submarines underwater. The ship-launched missiles can also be launched from a shore. It is seven to eight-metres long and weighs 1,500kg.
- The antisubmarine electric torpedo when fired can travel at 40 knots or 74km/hour. According to DRDO, it can be launched from ships and submarines. India also intends to sell the torpedo to friendly nations.