Dr. Prahlada, Chief Controller, DRDO and Chairman, IGMDP expressing happiness on the last milestone of the programme confirmed that for the first time, Users have witnessed the flight tests of production version of NAG Missile Carrier NAMICA from BEL and Missiles from BDL. NAG Missile has both top and front attack capability and having passive homing guidance achieved through Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker system and is unique in the world with such capabilities. Many SMEs have participated in the development and of NAG Missile system.
These tests were specially meant to demonstrate the tandem warhead against both stationary and moving targets. With these trials, the development flights stand completed and NAG system is now ready for user trials. The mobility in desert terrain has also been comprehensively demonstrated.
The Indian Army is likely to place an initial order for 443 ‘Nag’ ATGMs, along with 13 ‘NAMICA missile launch vehicles, which are modified BMP-2 tracked infantry combat vehicles each of which houses an inclined swiveling launcher containing eight ATGMs, 12 missile reload rounds, and a target acquisition system using a second generation thermal imager and a laser rangefinder, both with a range of 5.5km. The 42kg ‘Nag’ ATGM makes use of an airframe built out of aluminium alloys, and a DRDO-developed cadmium zinc telluride-based imaging infra-red (IIR) seeker for giving the missile a lock-on before launch capability. It has a flight speed of 230 metres per second, is armed with a 8kg tandem shaped-charge warhead, has a rocket motor using nitramine-based smokeless extruded double band sustainer propellant, has a single-shot hit probability of 0.77 and a CEP of 0.9 metres, and has a 10-year maintenance-free shelf-life. Efforts are now on to develop a mast-mounted missile launcher that will be hydraulically raised out to a height of five metres to enable the NAMICA to acquire its targets out to a distance of 8km.
The DRDO is now developing two new variants of the ‘Nag’ for the Indian Air Force (IAF): the 8km-range ‘Helina’, which will be launched from twin-tube stub wing-mounted launchers on board the armed ‘Dhruv’ ALH and Light Combat Helicopters that will be produced by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL); and a 10km-range variant that will be launched from tactical interdiction aircraft like the upgraded Jaguar IS. The ‘Helina’ will, like the ‘Nag’ make use of an IIR seeker for target engagement, while the Jaguar IS-launched ATGM will use a nose-mounted millimetric-wave active radar seeker. User trials of these two variants of the ‘Nag’ will be conducted by late 2010. All three variants of the ‘Nag’ will have top-attack capabilities, thanks to the incorporation of a digital autopilot for automatic trajectory shaping. All in all, about 4,000 ATGM rounds of all types (vehicle-, helicopter- and air-launched) are expected to be produced by BDL.
Photos: First photo courtesy DRDO/Other photos by Shiv Aroor