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India to acquire undersea cruise missiles

india Updated: Aug 03, 2008 10:08 IST
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India is on the verge of acquiring new undersea launched cruise missiles which will give it capability to strike at targets on land even when the vessel is far from the shore.

The Club-S cruise missiles will come armed in early August on Indian Navy's newly upgraded Kilo-class submarine INS Sindhuvijay, according to Naval sources here.

Sindhuvijay will be the first of Kilo-class submarines to be fitted with this land attack version of the high-technology Club-S cruise missile, which has a range of 275 nautical miles.

"The high-precision missile can be launched from standard torpedo tubes from a depth of 35 to 40 metres," a source said.

Sindhuvijay is the fourth Indian Navy Kilo-class submarine that has been overhauled at Zvezdochka shipyard in northern Russia. Besides the land attack version, the submarines are armed with 3M-54EI anti-ship cruise missiles.

Labelled by NATO as one of the quietest submarines in the world, the upgraded Kilo-class vessels have undergone extensive changes in the hull along with acquiring improved control systems, sonars, new electronic warfare systems and an integrated weapon control system.

The Club-S missiles are highly sophisticated weapons still under development in Russia. They are also simultaneously being fitted in the new series of Russian submarines.

The Indian Navy signed a 80 million dollar contract with Russia in 2001 to retrofit its entire fleet of ten Kilo-class submarines to enable them to fire the Club-S missiles.

India is also asking the Russians to change the design of Kilo-class submarines to undertake test firing of its indigenous undersea launched supersonic Brahmos cruise missile.

Sindhuvijay was scheduled to be delivered in December last year but India and Russia got into a spat as the Indian Navy refused to take possession of the retrofitted submarines as the new cruise missiles failed to find their targets in six consecutive test firings in September and November.

"But extensive new trials conducted in mid-July were perfect," a Russian source said. Naval officials said here that the missiles were ready for induction.

Naval experts have described the Club-S missiles as "the most versatile weapons" with capabilities of both swimming out of the sea and vertical launch.

The new missiles use an ARGS-5 active radar seeker, new Russian Glosnass satellite and inertial guidance.

Naval sources said the Sindhuvijay will start sailing from the Russian shipyard located close to the White sea on August 5 and dock at Western Naval Command base in Mumbai a week later.

Russia Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines have become part of navies in India, China, Iran, Poland and Algeria.