India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 19 July that the locally developed Nag (Snake) anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is ready to enter series production after the Indian Army (IA) successfully completed summer user trials with the ‘third-generation’ fire-and-forget weapon.
“Completion of summer user trials will now pave the way for production and induction of the missile system into the army,” said the MoD in a statement from the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB), adding that New Delhi had already granted ‘acceptance of necessity’ in April 2018 to fast-track the procurement of the ATGM.
The trials were conducted between 7 and 18 July in firing ranges at Pokhran in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, and included six “missions” that were conducted “under extreme temperature conditions”, said the MoD. All of the tested missiles met the mission objectives, “including minimum range, maximum range, in direct attack as well as top attack modes, and achieved a direct hit onto the target”, it added.
The MoD also released video footage showing that the tested missiles were launched from the tracked Nag Missile Carrier (NAMICA) vehicle, which is capable of carrying up to six Nag ATGMs.
Developed by the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) the Nag ATGM, which also cleared winter user trials in February 2019, has been developed to engage “highly fortified enemy tanks in all weather conditions with day-and-night capabilities and with a minimum range of 500 metres and maximum range of four kilometres”, according to the MoD.
The Nag missile system, which uses a locally developed, high-resolution imaging infrared seeker in ‘lock-on-before-launch mode’, has been under development since the 1980s by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) - part of the DRDO - to meet the operational requirements of the IA for both a vehicle- and a helicopter-launched anti-tank weapon system.