The new long-range next-generation torpedo system developed indigenously is set to be inducted into the Indian Navy’s fleet soon. This advanced naval weapon system poses a significant threat to enemy submarines during military conflicts. The successful test of the Supersonic Missile-Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) system on May 1 by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has rattled India’s adversaries, particularly China and Pakistan. These nations will now think twice before deploying their submarines in the vicinity of Indian waters.

The use of a missile to shoot a torpedo towards the targeted submarine of an adversary is indeed a unique technological achievement. Since missiles possess supersonic speed, the torpedo is able to hit the target within a very short time. Thus, with SMART, India has added a new dimension to its anti-submarine warfare, which other powers will try to emulate.

SMART is a canister-based missile system that consists of several advanced sub-systems: Two-stage solid propulsion system, electromechanical actuator system, precision inertial navigation system etc. The system carries an advanced lightweight torpedo as payload along with a parachute-based release system. This enables the torpedo to travel a long distance and strike the target.

The torpedo that will be placed on the warhead of the missile as payload has also been developed indigenously and is called Torpedo Advanced Light (TAL), which is digitally controlled with guidance systems. This advanced SMART torpedo puts India in the lead when it comes to acquiring a lethal antisubmarine weapon.

Traditionally, torpedoes travel at subsonic speeds and have a limited range of approximately 40 kilometres. The SMART torpedo, with a range of around 600 kilometres, enables the Indian Navy to engage rival submarines from a much greater distance. The torpedo will be carried by a ballistic missile that will throw it nearer to the target, where it will be released by a parachute for final offensive. The torpedo will be guided to target enemy submarines by a guidance system. Whether deployed from a warship or from the coast, the SMART torpedo will pose a substantial threat to enemy submarines.

Once an enemy submarine is located in a particular area, a torpedo-carrying warship or submarine-like platform is needed in the vicinity to destroy it, in the absence of which the enemy submarine is difficult to hit. However, the SMART torpedo changes the situation.

The naval surveillance aircraft P-8I, or an anti-submarine helicopter, can intimate the command of the SMART system, situated hundreds of kilometres away, to launch the missile-assisted torpedo.



The game-changer anti-submarine weapon system was sanctioned in 2018, and the first two successful tests were conducted in 2020 and 2021. Before its induction in the Indian Navy, the SMART torpedo will require a few more tests. India will be only the second country to deploy such an advanced torpedo after Russia. The US and Japan are also working on such programs.

If any of India’s adversaries goes on an offensive mission against India, they will not escape the wrath of this new Indian weapon, if deployed strategically. The Indian Navy can now strike adversaries not only in the Indian Ocean, but also in their own backyard, such as the South China Sea, with ease.

At a time when the Indian Navy is awaiting the induction of six more advanced submarines – made in India with foreign collaboration – under the Project 75I program, SMART greatly enhances India’s submarine warfare capability.

Currently, the Indian Navy has 16 submarines, and the numbers will go down with the phasing out of the kilo-class and German HDW submarines in the next few years. The induction programme of the six India-made submarines will take at least a decade to fructify.

Until then, the Indian Navy was in desperate need of a weapon system to restrain the movement of enemy submarines in Indian waters. SMART will help the Navy dominate at least the Indian Ocean Region. Especially when deployed in the Andaman islands, SMART will be capable of preventing enemy submarines from entering the Indian Ocean through the Malacca Strait.

At a time when the Indian Ocean is witnessing the increased presence of submarines and warships from friendly and rival navies, with an aim to dominate the maritime region, the latest addition in India’s naval armoury will enhance the confidence of Indian naval strategists to tackle any unfriendly acts.

Maritime warfare is often likened to a game of hide-and-seek.

Despite being right at our doorstep, these underwater vessels remain invisible to everyone. Detecting a concealed naval ship beneath the water’s surface is challenging.

However, once such a vessel is spotted, SMART will empower the Indian Navy to ensure their threat is neutralised.

This breakthrough has the potential to shift the balance of military power and revolutionise naval warfare.

(With Agency Inputs)