What is SMART test and why is it important?
SMART stands for the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo. The successful flight of SMART from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha was conducted by the DRDO. The test followed the successful test-firing of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile 'Shaurya' which is indigenously developed.
Let us tell you that the Outer Wheeler Island in Bhadrak district is formally named as APJ Abdul Kalam Island by the Odisha government in 2017. It was a tribute to the former President on his second death anniversary.
What is the SMART system?
For anti-submarine warfare operations (ASW) which is far beyond torpedo range, SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight anti-Submarine Torpedo System.
Torpedos are self-propelled weapons that travel underwater to hit a target and are limited by their range. DRDO undertook a project to build capacity to launch torpedos assisted by missiles in the mid-2010. The first known flight test of the system was conducted on 4 October, 2020 (Monday).
It is a cigar-shaped, self-propelled underwater weapon. It was launched from a submarine, surface vessel, or airplane. With the hulls of surface vessels and submarines, it is designed for exploding upon contact. The first indigenous heavyweight ship is Varunastra that was launched as an anti-submarine electric torpedo.
What does the SMART system comprise?
The mechanism is comprised in which the torpedo is launched. It was launched from a supersonic missile system with certain modifications. To a far longer range than its own, it would take the torpedo.
For example, a torpedo having a range of a few kilometres can be sent a distance to the tune of 1000 km by the missile system from where the torpedo is launched.
As per the DRDO official, the system also gives flexibility in terms of the missile system's launch platform.
Functioning of SMART
When it had been launched from a warship or a truck-based coastal battery, it takes off like a regular supersonic missile. In the air, it covers most of its flight at lower altitudes with a two-way data link from the warship or an airborne submarine target detection system. The exact location of the hostile submarine is also provided by it basically to correct its flight path midway. When it comes closer to the submerged submarine, the missile will eject the torpedo system into the water. And then the torpedo will start moving towards its target to take out the submarine.
Technologies that are required for SMART are developed in:
In various DRDO laboratories including Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI), both in Hyderabad; Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) in Agra; and Naval Science and Technology Laboratory (NSTL) Visakhapatnam technologies are developed that are required for SMART.
What takes place at the test?
As discussed above the test was conducted from the Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha. As per DRDO, all the objectives of the mission like the missile's flight up to the designated range and altitude, separation of its nose cone, the release of the torpedo, and deployment of Velocity Reduction Mechanism (VRM) were met perfectly.
The lightweight category of an Anti-submarine torpedo was used. The test also follows another crucial test two days ago of the nuclear-capable Shaurya missile. It is a land-based parallel of the submarine-launched K-15 missile.
SMART Test significance
The strategic capabilities of the country's maritime will strengthen and for stand-off capability, it is a major breakthrough in anti-submarine warfare.
In 2003, Project 28 was approved. It is a class of anti-submarine warship corvettes presently with the Indian Navy it is in service. It consists of INS Kamorta, INS Kadmatt, INS Kiltan, and INS Kavaratti.
The Indian Navy programme Project 75 entails building six Scorpene-Class attack submarines including Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj, Vela, Vagir, and Vagsheer.
According to the DRDO Chairman Dr. G Satheesh Reddy, "SMART is a game-changing technology demonstration in anti-submarine warfare. India’s anti-submarine warfare capacity building is crucial in light of China’s growing influence within the Indian Ocean region."