NAG (meaning Cobra) is an anti-tank guided missile that can destroy enemy tanks miles away. One of the world’s finest in its class, the all-weather missile with day and night capabilities comes in four variants that can be launched from land and air.
The fire-and-forget missile is developed by DRDO under the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP), which also includes four other missiles — Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi.
Here is everything you should know about this fire-and-forget weapon.
What is NAG missile's range, types and capabilities?
NAG has a minimum range of 500 metres and a maximum of 20 km, depending on the launch type. It has a top speed of 230 meter/second (or 828 km/hour).
Nag variants (Range): Prospina (500m-4km): Prospina, the land version meant for infantry, can be launched from a tracking-cum-launch vehicle known as NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier). The launch system is mounted on light infantry vehicle BMP-2 and can carry up to six missiles. Each launcher can fire four missiles in one minute.
HeliNa (7-10km): It is a helicopter-launched version of NAG with an extended range. The launch system is mounted on HAL "Rudra" helicopter using "Rudrastra" twin-launcher system and HAL Light Combat Helicopters. The launch system is used by both Indian Army and Air Force.
Helina (SANT) (15-20 km): This is an upgraded version of the third-generation Helina with an extended range. The higher range and a new nose-mounted radar seeker help the missile launch platform stay at a safe distance, to evade enemy fire.
Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MPATGM): This version is lighter (14.5 kg) in comparison to other variants and can be launched from the shoulder. It has a strike range of 2.5 km.
How Nag missile works:
NAG is a fire-and-forget, lock-on-before-launch missile. The missile locks target before its release. The missile operators first locate the enemy tanks with the help of thermal imaging. After identifying the target, a thermal reference image of the target is captured and locked into the Nag’s seeker system.
The missile is launched towards the locked target with this reference image. As the missile moves towards the target at a high speed, it keeps capturing target images and cross-check it simultaneously with the reference image. Any deviations from the set path is corrected through Nag’s four control fins. It all happens at a very high speed of 230 meter/second and within a range of 4-20 km, depending on the launch type.
The front part of the missile penetrates the outer explosive reactive armour (ERA) of the tanks and the main charge destroys the inside armour.
Why is Nag missile unique and superior in comparison to others
There are only two other fire-and-forget missiles in the world that can be compared with Nag — the American Javelin and the Israeli Spike. While Javelin and Spike are lighter missiles that can be carried by a soldier, Nag is more powerful as its infrared seekers can’t be jammed. Nag’s indigenously developed imaging seeker and high-tech guidance system make it jam-proof.
What are Nag missile's dimensions
It has four foldable flaps with a wingspan of 0.4 m each. The missile is 1.85m long, weighs 43kg and 0.20m in diameter. However, the 'Man Portable' variant is smaller and lighter with 15kg load capacity. The front nose houses the guidance system, the middle part of the missile has all the sensors and the warhead. The rear part has booster rocket motor that propels the missile. It also has four tail fins for stabilisation to keep the missile on track while in flight.