New Delhi: India today announced to the world that it has successfully carried out all tests on its locally designed and developed anti-tank guided missile that will now get into the production phase ahead of induction into the army.
The final user trial of the third-generation NAG missile, an Anti-Tank Guided Missile that has been in the work since for at least 25 years now, was completed during the final user trail held at the Pokhran firing ranges in Rajasthan at 6.45 am.
“(The) Final user trial of 3rd generation Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) NAG was carried out today on 22 Oct 2020 at 0645 hrs from Pokhran range,” a statement from the Ministry of Defence said, soon after the test’s results were confirmed.
“The missile was integrated with the actual warhead and a tank target was kept at designated range. This was launched from NAG Missile Carrier NAMICA. The missile hit the target accurately defeating the armour.”
User trials is defence parlance for a test-firing carried out by the Indian Army troopers in conditions that imitate a battlefield scenario. NAMICA is an infantry combat vehicle converted for carrying the NAG missile, in this case a Russian-origin BMP-II with amphibious capability.
ATGM NAG has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to engage highly fortified enemy tanks in day and night conditions.
The missile has ‘Fire & Forget‘ and ‘Top Attack‘ capabilities with passive homing guidance to defeat all Main Battle Tanks equipped with composite and reactive armour, the statement said. “With this final user trial, NAG will enter into production phase.”
Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh, and DRDO Chairman and Defence Research and Development Secretary Dr G. Satheesh Reddy congratulated the defence scientists, the army personnel and the industry for the achievement.
The NAG ATGM was the 12th missile test that the DRDO scientists carried out in the last two months since Sep. 7, seen as a signal from India to China that has initiated a military conflict in the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh since May.
NAG missile was part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), conceived by former President of India and India’s most popular defence scientist late Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. The IGMDP was in 1983 to develop five missiles: PRITHVI, AGNI, AKASH, TRISHUL and NAG, for which the deadline was 1995.
India had sanctioned Rs 389 crore ($53 million in today’s currency conversion) for the IGMDP project in 1983, yet till 2007, only PRITHVI and AGNI were ready, despite a time overrun of 12 years. Apart from the sanctioned cost, India spent an additional Rs 1,770 crore ($240 million) on the AGNI and PRITHVI projects, due to time and cost over-runs.
While TRISHUL was abandoned altogether and the IGMDP was ended in 2008, AKASH, and now NAG from that programme were pursued and completed.