India develops heavyweight torpedo

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, 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. A contract for the manufacture was signed by BDL and Ministry of Defence, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

“The heavyweight torpedo or the Varunastra is a ship launched, 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,” an official BDL note said on Thursday.

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 has the capability to hit stealth submarines underwater. The ship-launched missiles can also be launched from a shore. It is seven to eight 8 m long and weighs 1,500 kg. It’s diameter is 533 mm. The anti-submarine electric torpedo, when fired, can travel at 74 km per hour.

The operational range is 40 km and it can carry a warhead weighing 250 kg. It can be launched from ships and submarines. India’s intention is also to sell the heavyweight torpedo to friendly nations.

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