India will be putting to test the Nag anti-tank guided missile and its launch system NAMICA in the deserts of Rajasthan this June. According to Mr Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles & Strategic Systems), DRDO, the Nag missile, which has a range of four kilometres, would be tested for its full range, two kilometers and a minimum of 500 metres. Besides the missile, NAMICA, the Nag missile carrier built for the Indian Army, will also be put through test in Rajasthan.
The Nag missile carrier NAMICA has two modified versions with advanced hit capabilities and these are being built by private sector major Larsen & Toubro and state-run Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). The main objective of these crucial tests is to get the Nag missile aaproved for initial induction into the Indian Army. The delay of over an year in the induction of the Nag missile has been due to changes requested by the army in the NAMICA carrier. Each NAMICA can carry 12 missiles, eight of them in ready-to-fire mode.
The current version of the four-km range Nag missile will have the ‘lock on before launch' system and an upgraded infra-red seeker which is a unique capability unmatched by any missile in this range world over. The ‘lock on before launch' lends a superior tactical capability. The missile acquires the image of the target before launch and keeps updating as it seeks and hits the target with precision. The infra-red seeker capability is developed by DRDO while private players will translate this capability into other missiles with higher ranges.
India made the landmark achievement in indigenous seeker technology for missiles when an RF (radio frequency) seeker was successfully flight-tested in anti-tank Nag missile in Rajasthan in December last year. Although DRDO had developed Imaging Infra-red (IIR) seeker, it was the first time that a millimetric Wave (mmW) seeker, having all-weather capability, was tried in a mission. This seeker will now enable the tracking of the target in a ‘Lock-on-Before-Launch' method, right from the missile's firing and throughout the trajectory.
Developed by the DRDO, the Nag is a third generation, anti-battle tank, fire and forget missile can hit a target in any climate and at any time, be it day or night. The four-km range Nag missile has top-attack capability to nullify the explosive reactive armour of a modern battle tank. The production of the third generation hit-to-kill Nag missile is expected to commence after the final user trials with deliverable version of missile carrier NAMICA are conducted this summer.
The Indian Army had already budgeted roughly $ 74 .45 million for buying 443 Nag missiles, which will be manufactured at the public sector Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). The missiles will equip Reconnaissance and Support Battalions which are mechanised units that locate and destroy enemy tanks. The Nag is a heavier and more powerful missile designed to operate from vehicles and helicopters.