India Test-Fires Anti-Ship Missile In Arabian Sea

After long delays (mainly because of technical problems), the Indian Navy successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile on Thursday.
The Navy said in a statement that the missile was test-fired from INS Kalvari – India’s first Scorpene-class submarine that can carry 18 torpedoes – for the first time. Describing the launch as a significant milestone in enhancing its ‘sub-surface’ warfare prowess, the Indian naval forces also said that the missile successfully hit a surface target in the Arabian Sea.
A senior Indian Navy officer, who wished to remain anonymous, stressed that the South Asian nation would equip all of its six diesel-electric attack submarines with the anti-ship missiles in near future. He claimed that the move would allow Indian submarines to neutralise surface threats at extended ranges, as the state-of-the-art submarine features include superior stealth and the ability of launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons. The officer told the media that Kalvari fired an ‘Exocet SM 39’ missile at a decommissioned tugboat on March 2.
Meanwhile, the Indian Defence Ministry issued a separate statement, saying: “The missile successfully hit a surface target at an extended range during the trial firing. This missile launch is a significant milestone not only for the Kalvari, but also in enhancing the Indian Navy’s sub-surface warfare capability.” According to the ministry, the attack can be launched with torpedoes, as well as tube-launched anti-ship missiles, whilst underwater or on the surface.
Kalvari, designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS, are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited in western Indian city of Mumbai. Defence experts believe that the submarine, which can travel 1,020km underwater, will help the Indian Navy become a full-fledged blue-water navy. The Scorpene submarine is designed to operate in all theatres, including the tropics. It can undertake multifarious types of missions, like anti-surface warfare, intelligence gathering, mine-laying and area surveillance. The vessel is built from special sheet, capable of withstanding high yield stress and having high tensile strength, thereby allowing it to withstand high hydrostatic force. The Scorpene is equipped with Weapons Launching Tubes and can carry weapons onboard that can be easily reloaded at sea. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Indian defence scientists for successfully testing the missile, saying that it was a proud moment for the country.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy is all set to commission the ‘INS Shankul’ – the last submarine built by Mazagon Docks. According to sources close to the Navy, the next five submarines will be rolled out from Mazgaon Docks at intervals of nine months each.
Recently, Iran test-fired a similar missile in the Strait of Hormuz. On February 27, the Iranian Navy announced that it successfully test-fired the domestically-developed ‘Dehlaviyeh’ anti-ship missile during large-scale war games that took place over two million square kilometres. During the drills, the Iranian Navy also test-fired ‘Nasir’, the latest version of its home-made coast-to-sea cruise missile.
Defence experts opine that the changing geopolitical landscape in South and West Asia has prompted India and Iran to test-fire anti-ship missiles. Currently, four nuclear powers – China, India, Pakistan and Iran – try to increase their influence in the Indian Ocean Region by boosting naval strengths. While China is considered as Pakistan’s ‘all-weather’ friend in the region, India maintains cordial ties with Iran.

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