The Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) system, developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was successfully tested on December 13, 2021. The system is described as “a next generation missile-based standoff torpedo delivery system” for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). During the test, full range capability of the missile was successfully demonstrated. The entire trajectory of the missile was monitored by an electro-optic telemetry system, range radars and down range ships.
SMART can deliver a DRDO-developed “Shyena” Advanced Light Torpedo (TAL) from ranges of 50km up to 650km. The Shyena torpedo itself has a maximum quoted range of 19km. The canister-based missile is launched from a BEML Tatra T815 8×8 based transporter erector launcher (TEL). The missile carries the torpedo, a parachute delivery system and release mechanisms. The missile has two stage solid propulsion, electro-mechanical actuators and inertial navigation. A two-way data link allows for course corrections based on information from ships or airborne ASW assets.
This is the second flight test of the SMART system. The first flight test was conducted on October 5, 2020. That test had validated the following: missile flight up to the intended range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, release of torpedo and deployment of velocity reduction mechanism. Both tests were conducted from Wheeler Island in the Bay of Bengal.
Multiple DRDO laboratories developed various technologies for this missile system which has been in development since at least 2018. In August 2018, pneumatic ejection test of TAL dummy torpedo from canister was carried out. Ejection speed of the torpedo was also estimated during these trials. Various industries are involved in the development and production of various sub-systems for SMART.
Although various standoff ASW missiles are used by multiple nations, SMART differs substantially in its performance. Most other standoff ASW munitions have a maximum range of only about 20-30km compared to the 650km of SMART. Supersonic designs like SMART and Japan’s Type-07 are also uncommon. SMART is also externally similar to the Shaurya and K-15 ballistic missiles, as detailed in this Overt Defense editorial by Orion_Int. The system, initially labelled as a technology demonstrator, is expected to be used by the Indian Navy as a shore based long range ASW weapon. This would help the Indian Navy counter a growing fleet of Chinese and Pakistani submarines, even as its own submarine acquisition programs face delays.