An Indian weapons development team from the Defence R&D Organisation has conducted the first ever test-firing of a man-portable shoulder launched anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) system, reports say. Livefist can confirm the test took place last evening at the KK ranges in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar, with a second launch this morning.
In a brief statement today, the Indian MoD said, “Indigenously developed Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM), was successfully flight tested for the second time from the Ahmednagar range today. All the mission objectives have been met. The two missions on 15 and 16 September 2018 have been successfully flight tested for different ranges including the maximum range capability.”
While undeclared at present, the MPATGM’s maximum range is expected to be 4 km.
The man-portable missile is said to be a derivative of the NAG weapon system, and will be the third iteration of the missile following the baseline vehicle-launched version and air-launched version HELINA. The Indian Army finally opened its doors to the baseline NAG missile earlier this year after the MoD cleared an inaugural $70 million deal for 300 NAG missiles across 25 tracked launcher vehicles.
The MPATGM program was sanctioned in January 2015, envisaging modifications to the NAG missile along with a launch tube and launcher system. Design configurations were frozen by the end of 2015. In 2016, the DRDO conducted eight static tests of the rocket motor to monitor ballistic performance for shoulder launch. With fabrication of the launch unit complete the same year, the team aimed for test in the latter half of 2017. The two debut test-firings will be followed by more.
India has a large requirement of anti-tank guided missiles running into more than 40,000 missiles for its hundreds of infantry and mechanised Army units. It has in the past turned down offers of the U.S.-built Javelin system and has oscillated over the Israeli SPIKE system. The indigenous MPATGM is finally off the ground, but has a journey ahead, including an unforgiving user trial phase (that endlessly bedeviled the original NAG system) following the current phase of development launch tests.
The DRDO has been involved in researching man-portable anti tank infantry weapons for years now. In 2009, it unveiled a separate light-weight 84mm anti-tank system.