NAG Anti Tank Missile Bolstering India's Defence

Discussion in 'Indian Strategic Forces' started by DrSomnath999, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. DrSomnath999
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    DrSomnath999 RESEARCHER

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    NAG Anti Tank Missile, deployed on the Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2 (named 'NAMICA') will equip Recce & Support Battalions of the Mechanised Infantry. As the name suggests, these battalions are tasked with detection and destruction of enemy armour columns. Operating in the vast open spaces in the desert, these units can be called upon to cover gaps in the defences and fight along with the Armour and Mechanised Forces as per the overall plan. In offensive operations too, these battalions will be called upon to support the main columns by way of flank and frontal protection. In essence the operational role envisages 'reconnaissance, covering the gaps and destruction of enemy armour', in conjunction with other deployed forces and obstacles. NAG Missiles mounted on NAMICA vehicles will offer advantages in terms of speedy engagement, longer ranges, day-night capability, quick manoeuvres and deployment. Such a capability cleverly dove-tailed with the other assets in the battlefield like armour, mechanised infantry and foot soldiers will add effective anti tank fire and offer the commander multiple options in deployment of his forces.
    NAG: Third Generation Anti Tank Missile
    The NAG is a third-generation (Gen-3), “fire-and-forgetâ€￾ missile; once it is fired, its seeker automatically guides the missile to the target even if it is a moving target. In the second -generation missiles like the Faggot or MILAN the operator has to guide the missile all the way which can at times expose him to enemy fire. The world has just a handful of “fire-and-forgetâ€￾ missiles, such as the American Javelin, and the Israeli Spike. The Javelin and the Spike are lighter missiles that can be carried by a soldier; the NAG is a heavier and more powerful missile designed to operate from tracked/wheeled vehicles and helicopters.
    By virtue of Passive Guidance achieved with the Imaging Infrared (IIR) Seeker, such missiles are virtually jam-proof.
    NAG missile is the only third generation missile which can boast of effective ranges from 500 metres to 04 kms. The other missiles (Javelin & Spike) are shoulder fired with ranges limited to around 2 kms. Rafael, the manufacturer of Spike offers LR (Long Range) and ER (Extended Range) versions of the missile which can achieve longer ranges up to 4 and 7 km respectively and can be used in vehicle and helicopter mounted roles respectively. These missiles are yet to be trial evaluated in India. Their acid test lies in successful validation trials under varied and extreme weather and terrain conditions prevailing in Rajasthan and the plains of Punjab.
    NAG Missile carries a lethal punch against armour. Its warhead is capable of defeating thickest of armour plates currently in use to protect the armoured vehicles including ERA panels. Eyewitness accounts of those who observed the effect of fire confirm the lethality of the missile.
    World over there is a constant demand for a better seeker with a high resolution sensor. This will facilitate easier acquisition and tracking of targets at longer ranges. It will also perform better during extreme temperature conditions when the thermal contrast is low and consequent engagement of targets is more difficult. Unfortunately, not many countries in the world have been able to develop the sensor technology, thus making it more difficult to develop or acquire. France, Israel and the US are some of the countries that have developed sensors to achieve the fire & forget effect. Transfer of technology from the developed countries, too, is extremely difficult to come by as no country is likely to give us the top of the line technology. At best what we can hope to receive is the components which can be assembled in India. It is a known phenomenon that no country parts with its state-of-the-art core technology especially when it is related to defence industry.
    NAMICA's (see box) inability to pass muster on certain issues has resulted in the Army seeking an improved version. Reportedly the main observations are related to the height and weight of the delivery vehicle and its inability to float. DRDL has taken cognizance of the observations and has effected design changes accordingly. Not only has that lowered the silhouette of the vehicle but has also resulted in weight reduction by one ton. A lighter NAMICA with modifications to increase buoyancy is likely to negotiate water obstacles as per Indian Army's requirement. Less weight will also result in reduced load on the engine and offer better reliability & durability particularly during the summer.
    Operation
    NAG missile operators search for enemy targets through Target Acquisition Electro Optical systems (EOS) comprising of day & night sensors. On identification, the operator locks the NAG's seeker onto the target. A digital snapshot of the target is automatically 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, and deviations are translated through on-board algorithms into corrections to the NAG's control fins, which steer the missile precisely to the target.
    NAG provides its operator with another important tactical advantage. The plume of burning propellant from the tail of most missiles gives away its flight path and allows the target to get behind cover. The NAG, in contrast, is visible only during the first one second of flight, when the missile's booster imparts 90% of the momentum; after that, a sustainer maintains the missile's speed, burning a smokeless propellant that is practically invisible.
    Currently, guidance is based on an imaging infra-red (IIR) passive seeker that ensures a high-hit accuracy in both top- and front-attack modes.
    The name NAG was synonym to a snake (Cobra); the missile was named as NAG because of its trajectory path. This missile doesn't follow the ballistic path as other missiles but rather, it hits the target as a snake hits its enemies. The missile has a lofted trajectory before it dives down to hit the target on the vulnerable area.
    In Conclusion
    In the modern day battlefield, no weapon system operates individually in isolation. In an array of anti tank weapon systems, it will be gratifying to see a 'made in India' NAG-NAMICA combine defending our territory. NAG, the only anti tank missile designed and developed in India, has a number of features which are superior to those being manufactured under license (e.g. Faggot, MILAN and Concourse).
    'Made in India' tag is perhaps the most significant feature that sets the NAG-NAMICA system apart from most of the other weapon systems. Both the missile and the carrier cum launch vehicle have been designed and developed in India. Extensive trials have been carried out under prevailing (extreme) terrain and weather conditions in the country. The design has been modified and improved upon constantly after analysing the results of each trial. It is a process that has taken years of effort to develop a product in the country by our own scientists. Yes, there are certain concerns and observations by the user (Indian Army) even after all the cost and timeline overruns. But then no piece of equipment, particularly defence related hardware, can ever be perfect. Constant product improvement and upgradation of it in service models is the norm, given the expenses involved. The NAG missile in its present form is only the beginning- given the opportunity the next version is likely to be even more lethal and accurate with longer ranges. Hopefully DRDO would have also developed its own IR Sensor by then.
    Self reliance in defence is a non negotiable imperative; all the stakeholders must realise this and contribute towards this goal. It is a common cause and we Indians will be proud to see the system evolving successfully as a result of team effort.
    South Asia Defence & Strategic Reveiw

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