Trials of India’s anti-tank guided missile ‘Dhruvastra’ has recently been successful at the Interim Test Range (ITR) in Odisha. The helicopter-launched Nag Missile (HELINA), which has now been named as 'Dhruvastra', is a third-generation fire and forget class anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system mounted on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).
Last year, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) carried out three successful test firings of the NAG missiles in the Pokhran firing ranges.
According to DRDO website, "HELINA (Helicopter based NAG) is a third-generation fire and forget class anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system mounted on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). The system has all-weather day and night capability and can defeat battle tanks with conventional armour as well as 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 (IA). A variant of HELINA Weapon System called DHRUVASTRA is being inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF)," it added.
Earlier, the Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of the DRDO-designed and developed NAG Missile System (NAMIS) at the cost of Rs 524 crore. The induction of the NAG missile is expected to give a quantum boost to the Indian Army's capability.
According to Army technology website, key design and features of the NAG missile are:
1. Nag is a third-generation, fire-and-forget, anti-tank guided missile to support both mechanised infantry and airborne forces of the Indian Army.
2. The missile incorporates an advanced passive homing guidance system and possesses high single-shot kill probability. It is designed to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured targets.
3. Nag can be launched from land and air-based platforms. The land version is currently available for integration on the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA), which is derived from a BMP-2 tracked infantry combat vehicle.
4. The helicopter-launched configuration, helicopter-launched NAG (HELINA), can be fired from Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) and HAL Rudra (ALH WSI) attack helicopter.
5. The Nag anti-armour guided weapon’s airframe is built with lightweight and high-strength composite materials. It features top-attack capability and has high immunity to countermeasures.
6. The missile is equipped with four foldable wings and has a length of 1.85m, diameter of 0.20m, wingspan of 0.4m and weight of 43kg.
7. A blunt nose cone houses the guidance system, while the middle portion accommodates a compact sensor package and the main charge of the warhead. A booster rocket motor is located towards the rear. Four tail fins are fitted at the rear to stabilise the missile while in flight.
8. A real-time image processor with fast and efficient algorithms is installed next to the guidance section to provide automatic target detection and tracking capabilities. The digital autopilot offers guidance, stability and control for the missile during the flight.
9. Nag is also outfitted with an electric actuation system for flight control.
10. Nag is fitted a with high-energy propulsion system consisting of booster and sustainer propellants. The sustainer propellant burns a nitramine smokeless extruded double base (EDB).
11. It can fly at a speed of 230m/s and has the capability to engage both static and moving targets under all weather conditions during the day and at night. The range of the land version is 4km, while HELINA can reach up to 7km.
12. Up to eight ready-to-fire missiles can be carried in two quadruple armoured box launchers mounted on the NAMICA anti-tank guided missile.
13. Each launcher can fire four missiles in one minute. The NAMICA vehicle can be optionally equipped with an additional four missiles.