The Indian Navy completed its first launch of an SM39 anti-ship missile from a Scorpène submarine on 2nd March. The missile was launched from the “Kalvari”, the first of six conventional submarines ordered by New Delhi. The test took place in the Arabian Sea and the missile hit its target.
The Kalvari class submarines, based on the French Scorpène design, are being built by Mazagon Docks in Mumbai. Each vessel will be equipped with a MBDA’s SM39, a version of the Exocet missile designed to be launched from a submerged submarine.
The missile is housed inside a watertight capsule, similar to a torpedo. On reaching the surface, the capsule is ejected and the missile's motor is ignited. Inertial guidance is used for the initial phase of flight, with an active radar seeker taking over for the final phase. The Indian Navy says that this type of missile can be used to neutralise surface targets “at extended ranges”.
The new submarines are eagerly awaited by the Indian Navy, in view of the delicate relations with Pakistan and the increasing presence of the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean.