Indian state-owned defence company Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has signed an USD170.7 million (INR11.87 billion) contract with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to supply heavyweight weight Varunastra anti-submarine torpedoes for the Indian Navy’s (IN’s) front-line warships.T he contract was inked by NP Diwakar, Director (Technical), BDL and Nidhi Chhibber, Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Maritime & Systems), Ministry of Defence, Govt of India in New Delhi. The company announced in a 13 June statement that the contract, which was signed in New Delhi two days earlier, mandates the delivery of the ship-launched torpedoes over the next 42 months. The weapon will be manufactured at BDL Visakhapatnam Unit under collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Varunastra has been designed with the latest technologies such as high speed and long endurance propulsion, software-driven intelligence, conformal array acoustic homing with wide look angle and advanced digital signal processing. The weapon has been developed by the Naval Science and and Technology Laboratory (NTSL), Visakhapatnam. This torpedo has been developed with a high degree of modularity with more than 95 per cent indigenous content. All the test systems, accessories, special tools and handling equipment are developed simultaneously, enabling smooth maintenance, sourcing of spares, industry support and up-gradation.
The Heavy Weight 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. Varunastra can hit stealth submarines underwater. The ship-launched missiles can also be launched from ashore. It is seven to eight metres long, weighs 1,500 kg and has a diameter of 533 mm. The anti-submarine electric torpedo when fired can travel at 40 knots, or 74 kmph. The operational range is 40 km and it can carry a warhead weighing 250 kg. According to DRDO, it can be launched from ships and submarines.