India Sharpens Its Anti-Tank Warfare Capabilities As DRDO Test-Fires ‘Helina Nag’ Missiles

In yet another boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the country successfully test-fired the Helicopter Launched Nag or ‘Helina’ anti-tank missile on Friday. The missile has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The Nag missile is guided by an Imaging Infrared Seeker (IIR) operating on Lock-on-Before-Launch mode. Considered one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world, Helina can be launched from both land and air-based platforms.

The Indian military has conducted joint user trials for Helina (Army Version) and Dhruvastra (Air Force Version) missile systems from Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) platforms in desert ranges.

“The system has all-weather day and night capability and can defeat battle tanks with conventional armor as well as with explosive reactive armor. It is one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world. Now, the missile systems are ready for induction,” the DRDO said in a statement.

In the joint trials, five missions were carried out for evaluating the missile capabilities in minimum and maximum range. “The missiles were fired in hover and max forward flight against realistic static and moving targets,” DRDO said.

Some missions were carried out with warheads against derelict tanks and one mission was carried out against a moving target from a forward flying helicopter over the period of five days.

The solid propelled anti-tank weapon with a range of over seven kilometers is comparable with the wire-guided HJ-8 or Hongjian-8 system used by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and BARQ laser-guided missile developed by Pakistan.

The country’s defense research organization has been working on the Nag missile since 2009 and has spent approximately $47 million on its development. In the next two decades, the Indian Army says it requires at least 40,000 anti-tank guided missiles.

In order to reduce the dependence on other countries for defense equipment, the Indian government has been pushing for the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ campaigns, under which defense equipment are manufactured in India and contracts are given to the Indian companies.

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