The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has sucessfully fired the indigenously-built third generation, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile, Nag (Hindi for cobra), at the Mahajan Field Firing Range in Rajasthan.
The officials said it hit the bull’s eye in the target 4 km away during a night trial.
The Thermal Target System (TTS) developed by a defence laboratory at Jodhpur was used as a target for the missile. TTS acted like an an operational tank.
DRDO officials said the trial validated the enhanced 4-km range capability of Imaging-Infrared seeker, which guides the missile to the target after its launch.
To improve Nag’s capability, DRDO scientists carried out multi-purpose mission exercises. They said the testing of the modified seeker was a suceess and the Nag missile was now ready for final, pre-induction user trials.
The final trials will be conducted in different conditions in summer and winter this year, the DRDO said.
For most of the day and night, the Nag successfully hits its targets out to four kilometres, the range that the army demands. But in extreme heat, especially in summer afternoons in the desert, the missile cannot pick up targets beyond 2.5 kilometres. It picks up the target once the temperature cools.
According to DRDO scientists, even in the worst conditions, the Nag is 100 per cent accurate out to 2.5 kilometres.
Here’s how it works. The Nag missile pilot scan the battlefield for enemy tanks with thermal imaging telescopes, which can pick up targets by day or night. The Nag pilot then locks the seeker onto it. After taking a digital snapshot of the tagret, the missile rushes towards the target, at 230 metres per second. The seeker then takes many snapshots of the target, comparing it with the reference image, and then guides itself effortlessly onto the target.
Indian infantry formations require a potent ATGM to handle Pakistani tank forces that now bristle with capable Ukrainian T-80 and Chinese T-85 tanks. The world has just a handful of “fire-and-forget” missiles, such as the FGM-148 Javelin, built by American companies, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon; and the Spike, built by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.