Thursday, 18 July 2013

DRDO to conduct Nag missile test trials soon

The missile complex of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) here has been working on making Nag, a third-generation 'Fire-and-Forget' anti-tank missile for the past few years. It was almost a year ago when the Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) failed in its user trials by the Indian Army in Rajasthan. DRDO blamed it upon the high temperatures in the desert where the tests were conducted to bring the target temperature to the same level as that of the ambient temperature.

V G Sekaran, chief controller R&D (Missiles & Strategic Systems) and programme director, Agni, told TOI that trials for Nag with new 'more sensitive' and 'higher resolution' seekers being developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI) of DRDO here will be conducted by this month end. 'Nag' is the baby of Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) of DRDO. According to G Satheesh Reddy, DRDL director, the new seekers would perform well even in extremely hot temperatures with more efficiency and accuracy in hitting targets with new improved detectors on the missile tip for sensing heat or infra red signals.

Dwelling into the reasons for the past failures, Avinash Chander, scientific advisor to raksha mantra and secretary Defence Research & Development and director general DRDO (Defence R&D Organisation), the high temperatures during the peak day hours in the desert resulted in heating up of the targets to the extend that it was the same as the surroundings. "As such, the seekers, which worked well otherwise till up to four kilometers or so, could not differentiate between the target object and the surroundings. Accuracy under such conditions worked well only till a limited range and now we are working on developing more sensitive and higher resolution seekers", he said, adding that the Indian Army will also participate in the development trials this month-end.

The DRDO chief claimed that once developed as per specifications, other foreign ATGMs currently being used by India shall be no match to 'Nag'. DRDO reportedly is also working on making the future versions of the missile lighter even though it is fired from a special Russian origin Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2 (named 'Namica' or the Nag Missile Carrier) in its terrestrial version. Meanwhile, a couple of months after these user trials failed, the government which so far has spent Rs 1,700 crores on Nag, had to give its nod for procuring second generation 10,000 Russian Konkurs-M, Anti Tank Guided Missiles at a cost of Rs 1,200 crores for infantry formations of the Indian Army. Though DRDOP has shelved its plans to build a wire-guided system for Nag, it continues to work on 'Helina', the helicopter or air launch version of Nag.

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