In a step towards enhancing India’s armoured warfare capabilities, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Tuesday successfully test-fired the indigenously-developed Laser-Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) from the Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun at KK Ranges in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.
Announcing the test, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted on Wednesday, “Congratulations to DRDO for successfully conducting test-firing of Laser Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile from MBT Arjun at KK Ranges (ACC&S) in Ahmednagar. India is proud of Team DRDO, which is assiduously working towards reducing import dependency in the near future.”
Dr G Satheesh Reddy, secretary of the Department of Defence Research and Development and chairman of DRDO, also congratulated DRDO personnel and industry on the successful test firing.
KK Ranges is the firing range of the Armoured Corps Centre and School of the Indian Army (ACC&S) located on the outskirts of Ahmednagar. While some parameters of the Laser Guided ATGM have been tested in prior tests, on Tuesday, all parameters were successfully tested and the missile engaged with the target with ‘more than desired accuracy’, sources said. More tests of the weapon system are expected to take place over a period of time.
The missile uses a warhead that has the capability to neutralise armoured vehicles which have reactive armours, which are specially-designed protective armours used in military vehicles.
The missile was fired at a range of around 3 km in the test and successfully took out a target. While the missile is currently being tested from the MBT Arjun, it has been designed so that it can be fired from other platforms too. DRDO scientists said the operability of the missile from a tank is a key feature in armoured warfare. The missile has the capability of engaging with the target even if it is not in the line of sight.
In a press statement, the DRDO said, “Laser-guided ATGMs lock and track the targets with the help of laser designation to ensure precision-hit accuracy. The missile employs a tandem HEAT warhead to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles. It has been developed with multiple-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from the gun of MBT Arjun.”
Pune-based DRDO facilities – Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) and the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) — have developed the missile in collaboration with another DRDO laboratory, Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE) in Dehradun.
Over the last three years, the DRDO has successfully conducted tests of Man Portable ATGM and also a ATGM system named Nag. The indigenously developed low-weight, ‘fire and forget’ Man Portable Anti Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) in September last year. In February 2018, ATGM Nag was successfully tested in desert conditions.
All these systems are in various stages of development. In another related development, the government said in December 2019 that it has procured Anti Tank Spike missiles from Israel along with the allied systems to meet operational requirements of the Indian Army.
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