The long-awaited third-generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), Nag, successfully underwent its final user trial in Pokhran range in Thar desert in the early hours of Thursday. Nag is now one step closer to being inducted into the Army following its successful winter and summer user trials in 2019, said an official of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
“With this final user trial, Nag will enter the production phase. The missile will be produced by Defence Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), whereas Ordnance Factory, Medak, will produce the NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier),” read a statement by the Defence Ministry
The trial on Thursday was in continuation of a series of missile tests conducted by the DRDO in the last one-and-a-half months, which, according to officials, is going to be on for a while. Among these trials were two other ATGMs — the Laser-Guided ATGM, which was successfully tested twice at a field range at Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, and the Stand-Off Anti-Tank Missile (SANT), which was tested off the east coast on October 19.
Nag, developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of the DRDO, suffered a setback in 2012 after it failed in some field flight tests. A group of DRDO facilities continued to work on the project and in February 2018, Nag was successfully tested twice when it accurately struck two targets placed at different ranges.
In February 2019, the missile underwent successful winter trials and in July, the Indian Army successfully carried out summer trials of Nag in Pokhran, paving the way for its production on a large scale and ultimate induction into the Army. In both these sets of tests, all the missiles met the mission objectives including minimum range, maximum range, in direct attack as well as top attack modes.
In the top attack mode, the missile is required to climb sharply after launch and travel at a certain altitude, then plunge on top of the target. In the direct attack mode, the missile travels at a lower altitude, directly striking the target. In 2019, the government had issued the ‘Acceptance of Necessity’ for the induction of Nag.
The Nag missile has been developed to strike and neutralise highly-fortified enemy tanks. It also has night strike capabilities. It has a minimum range of 500 metres and maximum range of four km. A third-generation ‘fire and forget’ category system, Nag uses an imaging infra-red seeker to lock on to the target before launch.
The missile is launched from the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA), a modified BMP infantry combat vehicle with amphibious capabilities, which is capable of carrying up to six combat missiles. The imaging algorithm used with the system helps the projectile hit the target at four-km distance even in all-weather conditions, making it fit for deployment across India’s frontiers in both eastern and western theatre.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO and the Indian Army for the successful trial of Nag missile. DRDO Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy appreciated the efforts of DRDO, Indian Army and Industry in bringing the missile up to the production phase.
DRDO is also currently in the final stages of the development of the helicopter-launched version of Nag ATGM, called the Helina, which has undergone successful tests in 2018.
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