Naval Warfare

India Tests Supersonic Missile-Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) System

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India Tests Supersonic Missile-Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) System

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India Tests Supersonic Missile-Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) System
India Tests Supersonic Missile-Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) System

The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), a branch of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), successfully tested its Supersonic Missile-Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) system. The test took place at Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha, an eastern India state along the Bay of Bengal on the morning of the 1 May 2024. SMART was launched from a mobile ground launcher. Several mechanisms such as symmetric separation, ejection and velocity control have been validated in this test. SMART is a novel concept launched from the ground. It is a canisterised hybrid system that can travel at supersonic speeds, and it is made up of a medium-range missile carrying a lightweight torpedo as a payload.

The objective behind the project is to develop a quick reaction system that can launch torpedo from standoff distance. The missile has a range of 643 km (400 mi) carrying a light weight torpedo of range 20 km (12.5 mi) with 50 kg high explosive warhead. SMART uses two-way data link connected to airborne or ship based submarine detection and identification systems. SMART can be launched from a surface ship or a truck-based coastal battery. The missile delivery system was developed jointly by Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI). Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL) developed the autonomous lightweight torpedo and associated technologies such as detonation mechanism, underwater guidance and underwater thruster.

Indian DRDO successfully flight tested Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. (Photo by PIB India)

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2018–19 annual report mentioned that DRDO started the development and demonstration of missile assisted release of light weight torpedo for ASW role. SMART is part of fusion project to combine technologies of institutions dealing with land and naval based armaments. High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) developed the insensitive explosive formulations for naval warhead. Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) developed the velocity reduction mechanism that act before releasing an autonomous lightweight torpedo towards the designated target. The ejection trial was done using Advanced Light Torpedo Shyena.

The system is under-development due to increasing deployment of submarines by People’s Liberation Army Navy Submarine Force (PLANSF) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), rapid modernization of naval assets by People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the building of Chinese overseas military bases in Africa. The missile is powered by a dual stage solid-propellant rocket and utilizes electro-mechanical actuators for course correction. For in-flight guidance, SMART uses a inertial navigation system (INS), and allows real-time course correction and target updating via datalink. The missile utilizes sea skimming in order to reduce detection range. SMART is similar in concept to the now cancelled UUM-125 Sea Lance from Boeing.

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