Indian Army and DRDO co-operate to boost tank-killer Nag missile

Singh

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The defence ministry's (MoD's) ambitious project to develop a world-class tank-killer missile has run into unanticipated trouble. But, encouragingly, instead of the customary blame game between the army and the development agency --- the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) --- there is cooperation and a joint effort to overcome the problem.

The problem with the DRDO's anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), christened the Nag (Hindi for cobra), is its range. For most of the day and night, the Nag unerringly strikes its targets out to 4 kilometres, the range that the army demands. But in extreme heat, especially in summer afternoons in the desert, the missile cannot pick up targets beyond 2.5 kilometres. Once the temperature cools, the Nag's seeker differentiates again between the target and surrounding objects (or ground clutter).

Dr Avinash Chander, the DRDO's missile chief, told Business Standard, "Even in the worst conditions, the Nag is 100% accurate out to 2.5 kilometres. Except when the temperature is really high, it is also accurate at 4 kilometres. By the year-end, we will develop a seeker with higher resolution, which will be accurate at 4 kilometres in any conditions."

The DRDO's unusual frankness in admitting a problem has been matched by the army's unusual helpfulness in working through it. The army has decided to buy 13 Nag carriers (NAMICA, being developed by BEL and L&T), and 443 Nag missiles in the current state. These will be deployed in areas like Punjab, where close-set villages, groves and electricity transmission cables seldom permit visibility beyond 2.5 kilometres. When the DRDO demonstrates improved performance with a better seeker, a larger order will follow.

"This is a top-class missile in every respect except for this problem. While we must have a range of 4 kilometres for the open desert, the reduced 2.5 kilometre range is acceptable for developed terrain like the Punjab. We will buy 13 Nag carriers and use these to familiarise ourselves with the system. And, in Phase II, we will order the 4 kilometre missile in bulk quantities," says a top general who decides such contracts.

For the army, the delay is a disappointment. Indian infantry formations badly need a potent ATGM to handle Pakistani tank forces that now bristle with capable Ukrainian T-80 and Chinese T-85 tanks. As far back as 2010-11, the army had budgeted Rs 335 crore for the first batch of Nag missiles.

The DRDO, for whom this is a prestigious project, says that the Hyderabad-based laboratory, Research Centre Imarat (RCI), will soon develop a seeker that can work through the hottest desert temperatures. This will feature an improved Focal Plane Array (FPA), a detector on the missile tip that picks up the target's infrared signal. Since the DRDO's own FPA programme is still at an early stage, the Nag's improved FPA will be supplied by French company, Sofradir. RCI will integrate Sofradir's FPA into an improved Nag seeker.

A 3rd generation ATGM like the Nag is amongst the most complex land systems. Here's how it works. The Nag missile pilots scan the battlefield for enemy tanks with thermal imaging telescopes, which pick up targets by day or night with equal facility. Having picking up an enemy tank, the Nag pilot locks the seeker onto it. Immediately, a digital snapshot of the target is taken, which serves as a reference image. As the Nag streaks towards the target, at 230 metres per second, the seeker takes repeated snapshots of the target; each one is compared with the previous image. The deviations are translated into corrections to the Nag's control fins, which autonomously steer the missile onto the target. This is termed a "fire-and-forget" missile, relieving the pilot of the need to expose himself to enemy fire after launching the missile.

The world has just a handful of "fire-and-forget" missiles, such as the FGM-148 Javelin, built by American companies, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon; and the Spike, built by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The Javelin and the Spike are lighter, "man-portable" missiles that can be carried by an infantry soldier; the Nag is a heavier and more powerful missile that operates from vehicles and helicopters.

But the Nag's weight is turning out to be a problem. The army is unhappy that the missile has weighed in at 40 kilos, instead of the 30-35 kilos that the army had specified. This, senior officers say, makes reloading difficult. The DRDO has been asked to make the Nag lighter.

The DRDO, however, argues that weight should not be an issue since the Nag is carried on, and fired from, a vehicle, the NAMICA. Says Avinash Chander, "I don't see why an extra 5 kg should be an issue. If the Nag were a man-portable, shoulder-fired missile, weight would be crucial. But we will bring the weight down gradually. The Mark II Nag will be about 35 kilos, and we will continue to reduce weight.

Acceptance of the Nag missile into service will conclude the DRDO's long-delayed, but eventually successful, Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). Initiated in 1983 by then DRDO boss, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the IGMDP set out to develop five missiles: the Agni and Prithvi ballistic missiles; the Akash and Trishul anti-aircraft missiles; and the Nag ATGM. Only the Trishul will have failed to enter frontline military service.

Broadsword: Indian Army and DRDO co-operate to boost tank-killer Nag missile
 

drkrn

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The weight issues will be easily addressed by bulk production phase come.

does we have interest from any other nations in it?
 

Apollyon

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Current lot of 443 Missiles is for deployment in Punjab.
Next lot will be ordered when RCI integrates FPA sourced from France which will give Nag the ability to any target a 4000m in daring heat in Rajasthan which current FPA is unable to.
 

Bhadra

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1983 - the programme started.

And 30 years later, they suddenly realise the missile seeker is bad and the missile is overweight and Namica is not a good vehicle.

And when comments on these aspects, the DODOs of the forum bray for your blood.

In wars, no one is rewarded for fighting with third class equipment and weapons albeit being so called ingenious.

Cost wise, Indian DODOs and OFBs sell their third class products at same cost as imported goods.
In this rigmarole, no one expect their vested interests benefits.
The country, the economy, Industry, The Armed Forces, No one benefits.
Now they are saying they will import better seekers from France. A few days ago they were on rooftops to shout how they have developed a world class seeker.

Whosoever made that claim should be hanged. Then only these media hungry DODOs will realise buffoonary is not good.

Some of them in the forum call slightest criticism as "shouting" !
 
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sayareakd

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send then any foreign missile and they will take it as it is based on advs.
 

Bhadra

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send then any foreign missile and they will take it as it is based on advs.
Success in war is dependent on better weapons rather than DRDO indigenous production. Armed Forces are for fighting a war and they have all rights to demand better weapon.
 

Bhadra

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The weight issues will be easily addressed by bulk production phase come.

does we have interest from any other nations in it?
How many scientists can lift up 40 kgs and put it into missile launcher in quick time?

Javelin can reach 4 km in 10 kg explosive charge. Why does DRDO require 40 kg ?
 
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sob

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The weight issues will be easily addressed by bulk production phase come.

does we have interest from any other nations in it?
How will the weight come down by going in for serial production. A product goes in for serial production once when all the specs. have been finalised, and no deviations are permitted. This is another tall claim by RCI/DRDO
 
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kaustav2001

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For every project, the hope is Mak II. Let us call ourselves Mk II hopefuls.
Somehow I feel that the HELINA would be a bigger success story than the NAG. The helina has a range of 7 kms & there are plans to increase that range further.
 

Kunal Biswas

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Seeker is fine, Even regular spike MR failed due to heat but nag still works..

And BMP is not a good vehicle from beginning..

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Just change the vehicle and all weight issue will be gone..


How many scientists can lift up 40 kgs and put it into missile launcher in quick time?

Javelin can reach 4 km in 10 kg explosive charge. Why does DRDO require 40 kg ?

Coz Javelin falls in different category and NAG is different..
 

Bhadra

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Seeker is fine, Even regular spike MR failed due to heat but nag still works..
Really, the deserts of Nagev has less heat you mean? Is NAG really that good ?

And BMP is not a good vehicle from beginning..
But user did not force that vehicle on them.

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Just change the vehicle and all weight issue will be gone..
who will change that ?



Coz Javelin falls in different category and NAG is different..
you mean NAG warhead is 20 kgs ? Nag will rip the tank apart and make it into two?
 

Bhadra

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Kunal,

Please tell me what happened to that hype of "lock On", "Lock on Before Fire" "lock on continuously" etc etc and etc, which media was fed?

It goes fut in heat ... that is what media reveals now !!

And now how can IA have area specific missiles? what if the missile has green blindness ?
 

Kunal Biswas

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Really, the deserts of Nagev has less heat you mean? Is NAG really that good ?

But user did not force that vehicle on them.

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who will change that ?

you mean NAG warhead is 20 kgs ? Nag will rip the tank apart and make it into two?
NAG is good that is why its noted its accurate to 2.5kms, Spike and NAG both are top attack fire and forget systems, But Nag is deigned as per Indian specs..

There is no other vehicle available..

??

Study categories of ATGMs..
 

Twinblade

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Really, the deserts of Nagev has less heat you mean? Is NAG really that good ?
Once the missile has left the high pressure dry air cooling system, the seeker is on its own from the time of launch to impact. The way I see it the current FPA needs a slightly larger range of operating temperature. For now the FPA can be imported, and the seeker should perform at max range by the end of the year.
But user did not force that vehicle on them.

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who will change that ?
BMP-2 also happened to be the Army's choice for mounting Spike.
The procurement of the Spike system from Israel by the Indian Army will include missile launchers, missiles and training simulators. The Spike ATGM will be delivered to the India Army fully formed, then semi-formed and then license produced in India for the future. The Spike will be mounted on the BMP-2 infantry vehicle and will have a range of over 2.5 kilometers. It will have a third generation guidance systems with active/passive guidance system with fire and forget and top attack capability.

The Indian Army had been looking for an advanced ATGM for the BMP-2 infantry vehicle and the hunting saga for the ATGM began in 2006. In 2010, tenders were sent again and it was almost on the verge of cancellation since only one company was left which was Rafael of Israel as it agreed to transfer the technology of the ATGM. The other firms to whom tenders were sent included MBDA of France, Raytheon and General Dynamics of U.S. and Rosoboronexport of Russia. Finally, Rafael was awarded the contract.





you mean NAG warhead is 20 kgs ? Nag will rip the tank apart and make it into two?
Nag will penetrate, ejaculate inside and basically rape the tank and hatch little babies out of it. Also what are you calling Nag heavy in comparison to ? Hellfire (45 Kg), Pars (49 Kg), Brimstone (48 Kg).


Kunal,

Please tell me what happened to that hype of "lock On", "Lock on Before Fire" "lock on continuously" etc etc and etc, which media was fed?

It goes fut in heat ... that is what media reveals now !!
Spike ATGM also went "fut" in head. It also went fut in cold.
Interestingly, the Javelin ATGM was sought because at that time, the Spike ATGM of Israel had failed the hot and cold trials in India.
Also read the article. The LOBL mode works brilliantly. Its the FPA which is the issue.
 

Bhadra

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Its the FPA which is the issue.
Then resolve the bloody issue. IA and the country reposed the faith on DODOs and paid them for it, so do it. Thirty years is not a small time? When will they do it? when the war is over? The external environment is not hidden from them? There was No DRDO with Soviet Union or with the Chinese? American or French have no DRDO but India has one. So they must do something or leave it to the country to fight battles with hammer and sickles!

US or Israeli missiles going fut is of no concern as they produce system to their requirements but DRDO jolly well know what are Indian conditions. So citing others is lame excuse.

Still all the best for next thirty years.
 
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Bhadra

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Nag will penetrate, ejaculate inside and basically rape the tank and hatch little babies out of it. Also what are you calling Nag heavy in comparison to ? Hellfire (45 Kg), Pars (49 Kg), Brimstone (48 Kg).qoute]

Nice fantasy but one does not need ten kg organ for it, it can be done with 250 gm organ.
Secondly, would Nag perform the same job from UAV or drone as do the Hell-fire, Pars etc. Hitting air to ground target. You seem to hallucinating (sorry to say that).

Could you see the original requirement called GSQR. Who asked you to deliver a 40 kg missile !!
 

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