The Indian armed forces successfully test-fired the helicopter-launched Nag Missile Dhruvastra anti-tank guided missile, erstwhile called Helina, indirect and top attack mode. The flight test trials were done without a helicopter on 15th and 16th July at ITR Balasore, Odisha.
♦ HELINA is a third-generation fire and forget class anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system. It is mounted on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
♦ The missile has all-weather day and night capability and can defeat battle tanks with a conventional armour and explosive reactive armour. The HELINA missile can engage targets both in direct hit mode as well as top attack mode.
♦ HELINA Weapon Systems is being inducted into the Indian Army. Dhruvastra:
♦ A variant of HELINA Weapon System called Dhruvastra.
♦ The Dhruvastra missile system is being inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF).
♦ The missile has a maximum range capability of 7 km in Lock On Before Launch (LOBL) mode. 8 such missiles can be attached to the Helicopter with the help of 4 twin launchers.
♦ It can be fired in two modes namely Direct and Top attack.
♦ It has a warhead penetration capability of 800 mm, the missile can defeat futuristic armour and inflict maximum damage to the tank and crippling its crew.
♦ The fire and forget capability has been imparted by an indigenously developed Imaging Infra Red seeker.
Anti-tank missile tech
The primary purpose of antitank guided missiles (ATGMs), which can be both medium and long-range, is to destroy armoured vehicles including tanks. ATGMs use several types of guidance systems to do this, including laser, TV cameras and wire guiding.
Some are flexible enough to be used via an aircraft, by the infantry and through land vehicles.
Advanced missiles such as the American Javelin have what is known as “fire and forget” tech – once released, the ATGM locks itself to the target using techniques such as digital imaging. The Dhruvastra too falls in this category.
Some other lethal ATGMs in the world include the air-to-ground Hellfire II Romeo, developed by Lockheed Martin, which can be launched from fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, vehicles, boats and ground-based tripods; the fourth-generation anti-tank missiles of the SPIKE family developed by EuroSpike (which can be launched by ground vehicles and from air); and the Chinese Red Arrow 12, a portable third-generation anti-tank missile that can be fired by a single soldier using a tripod.
India’s Nag range of missiles
India’s DRDO has developed a number of state-of-the-art anti-tank missiles in the ‘Nag’ range. These include the Prospina, which is used by the infantry and has a range of up to 4km; the Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MPATGM), which can be launched from the shoulder; and the Helina (Helicopter based NAG) missiles, which are customised for a helicopter-led assault on the enemy’s tanks.
Like the US Javelin and the Israeli Spike, the Nag is also a ‘fire and forget’ missile.
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