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India’s quest for robust underwater deterrence takes a significant leap forward with the advancement of DRDO’s SLCM program. Promising diverse capabilities and extended ranges, this initiative aims to equip both conventional and nuclear submarines with powerful offensive punch.

Last year’s successful test of a torpedo-launched SLCM marked a crucial milestone. With a current range of 402 km, the missile is slated for further trials pushing its reach to 500 km and eventually achieving an impressive 800+ km. This initial iteration focuses on equipping older diesel submarines, demonstrating DRDO’s commitment to enhancing legacy platforms.

The ambition doesn’t stop there. DRDO envisions longer-range SLCMs launched through Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) planned for upcoming submarine projects. The Project-76 (Indigenous Conventional-diesel class) and Project-75 Alpha (Nuclear-powered attack submarines) will benefit from this “Advance SLCM” program, capable of striking targets at staggering distances of 1500-2000 km. This translates to submarines launching attacks while remaining safely submerged further from enemy shores.

DRDO’s ambitions extend beyond range. They plan to develop supersonic SLCMs for both programs, adding an extra layer of complexity and lethality. Imagine the impact of a missile travelling at supersonic speeds, launched from the depths of the ocean – a formidable challenge for any adversary.

The SLCM program carries significant strategic significance for India:

  • Deterrence: A robust SLCM capability strengthens India’s deterrence posture, dissuading potential threats and ensuring regional stability.
  • Operational Flexibility: Longer ranges and varied launch options provide submarines with greater operational flexibility, enabling them to strike from diverse locations and evade detection.
  • Technological Advancement: The program fosters India’s self-reliance in critical underwater technologies, reducing dependence on imports and contributing to its strategic autonomy.

While challenges lie ahead in refining and integrating these systems, the successful test of the initial SLCM and DRDO’s ambitious roadmap indicates a clear commitment to bolstering India’s underwater deterrence capabilities. The SLCM program promises to be a game-changer, ensuring that India’s submarines can operate with greater power and reach, safeguarding its maritime interests and contributing to regional security.

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