LWT-XP light torpedo from the Indian Navy

Images of the torpedo found in Munaung town in Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been viral since July 13, prompting an investigation by the country’s military

Viral images of what appears to be an Indian-made torpedo washing ashore at a beach in Munaung town in Myanmar’s Rakhine State has sent alarm bells ringing in the Myanmarese security establishment and prompted an investigation by the country’s military. Images of the torpedo began to circulate on social media on the morning of July 13 after a Twitter user first shared four of these. Local reports claimed Munaung residents had come across the torpedo while enjoying a day at the beach.

Rakhine State in western Myanmar lies by the Bay of Bengal. Security experts are analysing how the torpedo ended up there as the bay is frequently used by various navies for drills and international military exercises. For instance, in late February this year, the Indian and US navies had participated in the ‘Exercise Milan 2022’ in the Bay of Bengal.


There has been no official comment from the Indian Navy yet on the discovery of the silver-coloured torpedo, which reportedly had ‘D&P torpedo’ and serial number ‘LWT-XP’ inscribed on it. ‘D&P’ might stand for ‘drill and practise’—a term frequently used to refer to inert training weapons and ammunition.

LWT-XP light torpedo from the Indian Navy

“While a confirmation is awaited, every munition should be considered live and lethal regardless of whether or not it could be inert. Even without a warhead, weapons may contain other hazardous material. Bystanders should never get too close to them,” says Girish Linganna, a defence and aerospace analyst in India.

For context, Myanmar signed a $38 million (about Rs 300 crore) contract with India in March 2017 for supply of an unspecified number of Shyena Advanced Light Torpedoes for its navy. The Shyena is the first indigenous lightweight anti-submarine torpedo to be fielded by India since production began in 2012. Myanmar received the first shipment of these torpedoes in July 2019. In 2020, India gifted a Russian-built kilo class submarine, Sindhuvir, to the Myanmar Navy. Sharing submarines and torpedoes are part of India’s Act East policy to counter China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean Region.

The nine-feet-long Shyena torpedo has been developed by the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Navy. It is designed to be launched by specific ships, submarines and helicopters that are part of the Indian Navy’s assets.

While orange appears to be the colour frequently used in the design of the Shyena torpedo, the pictures of the torpedo that surfaced in Munaung show a silver coating with thick orange stripes. That bright colours are used to aid recovery of munitions after training exercises supports the theory that the said torpedo could be a training munition.

Apparently, the Myanmar Navy had recently issued a warning in Rakhin State about naval drills planned between June 23 and July 9. Local populations were advised to stay away from seafronts during specific time periods. However, information regarding the precise military exercises was not shared.

Linganna said such warnings commonly precede drills that involve some form of live-fire component, be it the test-firing of torpedoes or anti-ship missiles. The protocols, though, may be different in Myanmar which, in the words of UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet, is now increasingly engulfed in civil strife.

Torpedoes used in training are typically retrieved after military exercises, such as during the ‘Sea Shield 2022’ held in Myanmar July. Reports of inclement weather during the training may have compromised the retrieval process—that is if the torpedo in question was part of this military exercise.

This is not the first time that people living in coastal areas around the world have come in contact with munition. Last year, a US Air Force BQM-167A target drone, loaded with decoy expendables, had washed ashore at Florida’s Palm Beach County. In 2020, an Indonesian fisherman had discovered a Chinese underwater drone not far from the Selayar Island.