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‘NAG’ ANTI-TANK GUIDED MISSILE: INDUCTION

India's DRDO has achieved another milestone by successfully developing the Anti-Tank Guided Missile 'Nag'. Now, the technology transfer by DRDO will bring momentum in the Indian defence industry to manufacture these missiles for the Indian Armed Forces.

Nag is a third generation "Fire-and-forget" Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) of MoD, India. The design work on missile commenced in 1988, and the first test was conducted in 1990. ATGM Nag has advanced technologies including the Imaging Infrared Radar (IIR) Seeker with integrated avionics. One of the main advantages of the missile is its propellant which is smokeless and has almost invisible trace during flight.

Missile Specification

  • Overall Weight approx.- 59 kgs (against 45 Kg claimed)
  • Warhead 8kg (Claimed)
  • Length 1.90 m
  • Range 500m to 4 Km
  • Flight speed of 230 meters per second and is armed with an 8kg tandem shaped charge warhead.
  • It has a rocket motor using a nitramine-based smokeless extruded double base sustainer propellant, has a single-shot hit probability of 0.77 and a CEP of 0.9 meters, and has a 10 year maintenance-free shelf-life.
  • The missile is equipped with four foldable wings

NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier)

  • Also known as "Sarath", is an improved version of the Soviet-designed BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). Sarath ICVs manufactured at Ordnance Factory Medak. It has a lock-on Before launch system, where the target has to be defined before the launch of missile.
  • The NAMICA has a retractable armored launcher that can carry 6 Nag ATGMs.
  • It is equipped with a thermal imager for target acquisition.
  • The carrier weights 14.5 tonnes in full combat load and is capable of moving 7 km/h in water.
  • Launch mode: Azimuth (endless) / Articulation / Vertical lift.

Development

  • Bharat Dynamics (BDL) produced infrared imaging seekers for the weapon.
  • The ground systems were developed by the Ordnance Factory, BEL, and L&T. OFB manufactured the ICV, L&T then integrates the missile launcher, electronics, monitors, sighting system, missile stowage, etc. Everything that is needed to make the NAMICA a fully integrated missile platform.

Test Fired

  • The first test of Nag was conducted in November 1990.
  • In 2001, a test launch of the missile from a tube in programmed control mode was performed at the Interim Test Range, Balasore, Odisha.
  • In 2002, two Nag missiles were successfully test fired.
  • In 2004, Nag, the third generation anti-tank guided missile has undergone five guided flight tests. One flight test con-ducted on October 11, 2004 was in full operational configuration with live warhead. Performance of the target acquisition system was also conclusively established during the year.
  • User trials of the Nag anti-tank missile against static and moving targets were conducted in 2007 and 2008 respectively, while the development tests were concluded in August 2008.
  • In 2013, Seeker evaluation tests for the missile were conducted.
  • In 2015, tests on the HELINA were carried out.
  • In 2016, Missile with a modified seeker successfully destroyed a thermal target system (TTS) at a range of 4km.
  • Finally in February 2018, NAG was successfully flight-tested by DRDO in desert conditions against two tank targets at different ranges and timings. With this, the developmental trials of the missile have been completed and is now ready for induction.

Technology Transfer

The DRDO will transfer technology and is getting ready with the process, Public sector and private sector, both are in race. Most likely, the selected private industry may partner with BDL and produce the missile indigenously.

Order Placed

In April 2018, DAC approved the procurement NAG Missile System (NAMIS) at the cost of Rs 524 crore. The deal includes, 300 Nag missiles and 25 modified BMP-2 'NAMICA' carrier vehicles. Bharat Dynamics (BDL) will be the main lead for Missile and imaging infrared seekers for the weapon.

The approval follows February 2018 successful flight-tests in desert conditions against two tank targets at different ranges and timings. In 2012 during user-evaluations the ATGM's uncooled long-wave infra-red (LWIR) sensors failed to distinguish their targets from their surroundings. Understood DRDO modified the LWIR sensor by incorporating IR-CCD processor chips supplied by France's ULIS-SOFRADIR. Since then, this modified sensor has successfully engaged all eight of its targets both fixed and moving.

Even in 2012 the army had budgeted to buy 443 Nag missiles and 13 NAMICA, to equip Reconnaissance and Support (R&S) Battalions of Mech Infantry. Mechanised Infantry has 10 R&S battalions, 5 based on tracks and 5 based on wheels. The present sanction is for 01 company of tracked R&S Bn to carry out the user trials. Each NAMICA is authorized 12 NAG, however, only 6 NAG Missiles of the present version can be carried on it due to its heavy weight and length, the remaining will be carried in a separate vehicle. Once the user trials are successful, the same will then be inducted into the Indian Army. It is still a long way to go before it is inducted.

Man Portable ATGM

The Nag is a third-generation (Gen-3), “fire-and-forget” missile; once it is fired, its seeker automatically guides the missile to even a fast-moving tank. In earlier-generation missiles an operator had to guide it all the way, often exposing himself to enemy fire. The other “fire-and-forget” missiles, such as the American Javelin, and the Israeli Spike are lighter missiles that can be carried by a soldier; the Nag is a heavier and more powerful missile designed to operate from vehicles and helicopters.

In November last year, India scrapped the Rs 3,200 crores deal with Israel for 8,356 medium-range Spike ATGMs, 321 launchers, and 15 simulators, and asked the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) to indigenously develop and produce a Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM). The Spike deal with technology transfer with requisite ToT had been cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in 2014 after extensive trials by the Indian Army. The deliveries were expected to be completed 48-60 months. The OEM had even entered into a JV with an Indian firm to produce missiles in India.

The offered Nag is heavier & long and thus is not man portable. RCI has been co-developing a third-generation MPATGM along with VEM Technologies. User-evaluations are yet to be held. Knowing DRDO development capabilities it would take years before a requisite alternative can be offered for use by Infantry. Infantry needs the MPATGM urgently and hence DRDO will have to come out with the prototype earliest. In the meanwhile, Indian Army issued RFP on 25 April,2018, for ATGM Konkurs M9M113 with SPTA Kit, quantity: 4331 no.

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