Indian Navy will soon get the first batch of indigenously-built heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo Varunastra, giving it crucial firepower to the naval forces. The first batch will be delivered to the Navy soon and will be fitted onto Sindhu class submarines and other navy ships. This will make India one of the eight countries to have such indigenously-designed and built system.
Varunastra is capable to destroy any target, including ships and submarines, up to the range of 40 kilometres in waters. The torpedo was successfully inducted in the navy in July 2018, following which an order of 63 such systems for Rs 1187 crore was placed.
Varunastra, weighing around 1.5 tonnes, carries about 250 kg of high explosives. It carries the explosives at a speed of around 40 nautical miles an hour (74 km/hour).
The first batch of torpedoes will include those that can be fitted onto submarines and combat ships. It has been designed and developed by Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL), a premier laboratory of DRDO. The system has not been developed not only for use by the Indian Navy but will also be exported to other countries.
A torpedo is the best and most accurate ammunition to target enemy ship or submarine. The transducer of Varunastra gives it capability for a wide angle of manoeuvres, making it capable of targeting submarines from both top and bottom. The GPS locator on the device helps it accurately target the enemy vessel.
It will be carried by Kolkata class, Rajput class and Delhi class destroyers. It will also be fitted on to Kamorta class corvettes and Talwar class frigates. Indian Navy’s biggest fleet of Sindhughosh Class submarines will also carry Varunastra. The fleet currently has 9 operating vessels.
Indian Navy currently has 9 Sindhughosh Class submarines, two Kalvari Class submarines, one Chakra Class submarine (on lease from Russia) and four Shishumar Class submarines.
Indian Navy’s fleet of 16 submarines s much smaller that of China which operates 70 submarines. In that case, having the capability to indigenously develop torpedoes gives it a much-needed firepower.