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Indian Navy undertakes first combat firing of Varunastra torpedo

India's Varunastra torpedo has undergone ‘combat' test-firings, with the weapon fitted with a high-explosive warhead, for the first time. (Bharat Dynamics Limited)

The Indian Navy and the country's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) undertook the first ‘combat' test-firing of the Varunastra heavyweight torpedo on 5 June.

Janes understands that the torpedo was fired from a Kamorta (Project 28)-class anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette at an Under Water Target System (UWTS) laid by INS Jalashwa (ex-USS Trenton), a refurbished Austin-class landing platform dock, in the Bay of Bengal off the eastern coast of India. The test was regarded a success by the Indian Navy and DRDO.

Built by Bharat Dynamics, Varunastra was developed from the mid-2000s and inducted into the Indian Navy in 2016. However, earlier the Varunastra torpedo had only been test-fired with dummy warheads. The new combat firing exercise is the first time the weapon was tested with a live warhead filled with high explosive (HE).

During the combat test-firing, the depth at which the indigenously designed and produced UWTS was laid is not known. However, the maximum operating depth of the Varunastra torpedo is 600 m.

Varunastra is a wire-guided, 533 mm, ship-launched anti-submarine torpedo developed by the DRDO's Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL). The electrically propelled torpedo has active-passive guidance and is fitted with 250 kg of HE. The torpedo has two selectable speed modes of 27 kt and 40 kt, aligned with a maximum range of 20 km.

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