Army has sought changes in specially designed carrier NAMICA

With Rajasthan deserts providing one of the worst testing environments, yet another round of trials, perhaps the last, will be conducted in June-July 2012 of the anti-tank Nag missile and more importantly its specially designed carrier, NAMICA.

Although the third generation missile with “top attack and fire and forget” capabilities was expected to be inducted last year after it was tested for various ranges in July 2010, it was delayed with the Army seeking modifications in NAMICA. Each NAMICA can carry 12 missiles, eight of them in ready-to-fire mode.

“We are hoping for initial induction after the trials. The aim of the tests is to prove the launch system as well as the missile to the requisite capability,” Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), Defence Research and Development Organisation, told The Hindu.

The partially amphibious NAMICA had been totally modified and two separate systems produced by Larsen & Toubro and Bharat Electronics Limited would be tested in the trials.

Nag missile, which has a range of four km, would be tested for its full range, two km and a minimum of 500 metres. This time DRDO scientists would demonstrate the lock-on-before launch capability of the missile for a four-km range with an upgraded imaging infrared seeker.

In lock-on-before-launch mode, the missile keeps acquiring the image of the target every 30 milliseconds right from the launch till the impact on target.

The missile would be fired to destroy both moving and stationary targets during the trials.

The shorter the range, the more difficult it would be for the missile to attack a moving target.

Mr. Chander said there was no other anti-tank missile in the world with a lock-on-before launch system for a four-km range.

The U.S. Javelin and the Israeli Spike had lock-on-before launch systems but the range was only 2.5 km.

He said it was also being planned to have the lock-on-before-launch capability for a seven-km range of the missile.

In recent field trials, the lock-on-after-launch capability of the Helina missile (airborne version of Nag) was proved.

There was some problem with the actuators and these were being rectified, Mr. Chander said.