The Navy recently tested an indigenous Naval Anti-Ship Missile (Short Range) or NASM-SR from a Sea King helicopter at the Integrated Test Range in Balasore, Odisha.
What is the NASM-SR tested by the Navy?
- The NASM-SR has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- The NASM-SR has a range of 55 km and weighs 385 kg.
- This missile will replace the Sea Eagle missiles which are currently in use with the Navy.
- With the Sea King helicopters too being phased out, it is expected that the NASM-SR will be used with the new MH-60R multi-role helicopters, which are being inducted into the Navy.
What are the technical aspects of the missile?
- The NASM-SR carries a warhead of 100 kg and has sub-sonic capabilities, which means that it flies below the speed of sound at 0.8 Mach. The sub-sonic flight speed makes it difficult for the naval vessels on target to detect it.
- It has a launch altitude of maximum of 3 km and can skim 5 metres above sea level when on final approach to the target.
- The NASM-SR can also be fired from the shore to target vessels in the sea.
- This kind of land-based missile launch capability was shown by the Ukrainian military recently when they used a anti-ship cruise missile to sink the Russian ship Moskva.
Is the small warhead size enough to sink ships?
- The NASM-SR is very effective against smaller vessels like patrol boats and can also cause widespread damage on larger vessels.
- The smaller payload of the missile can still be effective if it targets certain key areas of a ship like the ones where fuel and ammunition is stored.
- It has been proven in modern naval conflict that a modest strike by a missile can still sink a ship because of the implosion caused by on-board fuel and ammunition.
- Also, the lighter size of the missile makes it easier to be carried by helicopters and in turn provides Naval Commanders with more options to choose from in the tactical battlefield on the seas.