The Varunastra is a heavy-weight torpedo that will very soon be carried by all of the Indian Navy’s latest submarines. It was first conceptualized in 2007, but took a while to develop, and was finally handed over to the Indian Navy by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in June 2019.
The Varunastra was developed by the Naval Science and Technology Laboratory the naval arm of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
According to news reports, the Indian Navy will receive a second tranch of the Varunastra in April 2019 — exclusively for use on the Scorpene-class, the INS Sindhughosh (Kilo-class) and the Arihant-class submarines.
Developing the Varunastra took massive leaps forward in key areas of technology. The battery that powers the electric motor, for example, is almost two and a half times more powerful than ones used in current Indian Navy torpedos.
Another huge first is the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) for target homing in case the torpedo is aimed against a submarine using torpedo decoys. The DRDO believes that Varunastra is the first torpedo in the world to use GPS-based targeting.
Once deployed, the Varunastra can travel at speeds of up to 70 kmph (40 knots), making it the third-fastest torpedo in the world.