India has successfully tested hypersonic missiles with torpedoes, which are capable of hitting targets out of range of many submarine weapons.
“The Torpedo Drop Subsonic Missile (SMART) successfully flew off the coast of Odisha state at 11:45 am on October 5. All testing requirements included range and altitude, nose-shell procedure, torpedo release and the activation of the deceleration mechanism has been done perfectly. This test is very important to demonstrate its anti-submarine capabilities”, said the Defense Research and Development Agency of India (DRDO) in a statement.
SMART is the supersonic missile that carries the Advanced Light Torpedo (TAL) warhead. It can be fired from a launcher mounted on a truck or a warship chassis. The test on October 5 was conducted from a ground launcher, but the Indian military did not say the missile’s maximum range and altitude during the launch.
SMART development began in 2016 with the goal of developing torpedo missiles with superior range, increasing deterrence capabilities for the Indian army. The bullet is supposed to launch to the area where the enemy submarine is suspected, then drop torpedoes to find and destroy the target. Like the TAL using a hydroelectric probe, it is capable of operating for 6 minutes from its activation, reaching a range of nearly 19 km and a speed of 61 km / h.
Anti-submarine torpedo missiles are not a new concept. The US Navy is operating the RUM-139 VL-ASROC system fitted to the Mark 41 vertical launchers on surface ships. The Soviet Union and Russia also operate the RPK-6 submarine hunting missile, which is fired from a torpedo tube on a warship, plunges into the water for a few seconds, then leaps out of the sea and flies to the target. Japan also owns supersonic rockets that carry Type 07 anti-submarine torpedoes.
The difference of SMART with these systems is an estimated range of 650 km, compared with 30 km of Japanese rockets or 22 km of the US VL-ASROC. The Russian RPK-6 missile has a longer range than the US and Japanese weapons, but can only fire to the area at a distance of 100 km.
Experts say that SMART will be a game changer in the Indo-Pacific game if New Delhi can develop reconnaissance, anti-submarine capabilities and unified combat cooperation. Warships, helicopters and submarine hunting aircraft can coordinate to track down enemy submarines, then pass target parameters to warships carrying SMART missiles.
A range of 650 km also allows SMART to be a coastal defense weapon, preventing enemy submarines from approaching critical areas for reconnaissance or ambushes.