A developmental trial of helicopter launched Nag (HeliNa), DRDO’s anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) was conducted from a defence base off the Odisha coast on Tuesday.
Defence sources said the short range weapon was test-fired by the missile handling unit of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) from the launching complex-II of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea at about 10.05 am.
This was third trial of an upgraded and air version of surface-to-surface missile Nag. Earlier two trials of this third generation ‘fire and forget’ missile was conducted from the Pokhran firing range and claimed as successful. It is one of the five missile systems developed by DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
“The trial was conducted for a strike range of four km. Data collected during the test are being analysed. One more trial of the missile is scheduled to be conducted on Wednesday,” informed an official.
On July 8, seeker evaluation trials for anti-tank missile were carried out in hot desert conditions in Rajasthan. The trials were against both moving and static targets for different ranges of 2.8 km and 3.2 km to evaluate the performance of an improved version of Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker.
While Nag missile has a maximum range of 4 km, the seeker proved to be accurate only up to 2.5 km in extremely hot conditions in the trials conducted last year. However, the HeliNa has an extended strike range of about eight km. Sources said the problem with the Nag was its range.
The missile can strike its targets up to 4 km but in extreme heat conditions, the missile cannot reach the targets beyond three km. The user of the missile Indian Army also has raised its reservations against its weight. The weapon weighs around 40 kgs thus making the reloading difficult.
Following demands from the Army, DRDO has assured them to reduce the weight of the missile in its latest versions - Mark-II Nag and also to equip it with a seeker with high resolution which can distinguish the target from the other ground objects at a distance of up to four km.