The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) secretly tested its in-development submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) earlier this year.
The new SLCM, capable of being launched from the torpedo tubes of submarines, is likely based on the land-attack Nirbhay cruise missile.
According to a poster posted by ANI on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), displayed at the DRDO stall at the Dubai Air Show, the missile was tested in February 2023.
The missile successfully hit its target and met all its mission objectives at a range of 402 kilometres.
According to the poster, the missile is a 5.6-metre-long missile, weighing 975 kg, with a diameter of just 505 mm. The missile will have two variants, namely, a land attack cruise missile variant and another anti-ship cruise missile variant.
The SLCM uses Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (GPS)-based Global Navigation Satellite System for midcourse navigation, with an active radio frequency radar seeker for terminal guidance.
According to the DRDO poster, the missile is powered by a solid-fueled rocket motor booster, which takes the missile to a certain pre-determined altitude and velocity. Following this, the solid rocket booster separates, and a turbofan-based sustainer engine powers the missile in its entire flight.
In the February test, technologies like the thrust vector control to turn the missile into and onto the target, in-flight wing deployment and in-flight engine start were proven.
The SLCM will have two warhead options to choose from, namely, a precision-cum-blast for bunker busting and destroying strategic targets and an airburst warhead for area effect and destroying soft-skinned targets.
This new missile will travel at a speed of 0.7 Mach and will likely be integrated with Kalvari class, Sindhughosh class, and potentially with the Project-75I class submarines as well.
According to ANI, the 500 kilometres strike range of the missile will also be extended in the future.
This comes just days after reports of the Indian government considering proposals for inducting large numbers of Nirbhay cruise missiles in all three services.
The Nirbhay, in contrast to the new SLCM, is capable of striking targets at a range of more than 1,000 kilometres, is heavier, weighing over 1,450 kg, and 0.4 metres longer, at 6 metres.
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