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.