On Friday, India’s Ministry of Defense announced that the Indian Defense and Research Development Organization (DRDO), the body in charge of the indigenous development of weapons, had completed a set of trials of the Nag anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) earlier this month.
The testing was conducting at the Pokhran Field Firing Ranges in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. The Nag is an indigenously developed so-called third generation ATGM. The missile had “successfully undergone a series of summer trials at Pokhran Field Firing Ranges carried out by the Indian Army during 7-18 July 2019,” the Defense Ministry announced.
The Ministry released video footage of the latest tests.
Indian news agencies cited unnamed officials involved in the latest tests and noted that the Nag was launched 12 times over an 11-day period. The test series was concluded on Thursday.
As The Diplomat has previously reported, the Nag is slated to enter production by the end of this year. The missile has been under development for more than a decade now; conceptual design work on an advanced indigenous Indian ATGM is thought to have begun in the 1980s.
DRDO has conducted extended testing of the Nag in multiple climate conditions, with the aim of validating the performance of the missile’s seeker. In February 2018, the Nag was validated in desert conditions against target tanks successfully.
“With this, the developmental trials of the missile have been completed and it is now ready for induction,” the Indian Ministry of Defense noted at the time in a statement.
The development, production, and induction of the Nag took on particular importance for the Indian Army after the Indian government moved to cancel a major deal with Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. for the procurement of more than 300 Spike ATGM systems, including more than 8,000 missiles.
The deal was reportedly cancelled partly on the insistence of DRDO, which insisted that the indigenous ATGM would perform to the Indian Army’s requirements. The Spike ATGM had been selected over the United States’s FGM-148 Javelin system.
Beyond the Nag, which is designed for ground-launch from a missile carrier vehicle with non-line of sight capability, DRDO is also developing the HeliNa (helicopter-launched Nag), a variant designed for air-launch.
The Helina is capable of being launched from the Indian Army’s indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH).
A final variant is the MP-ATGM, or the man-portable ATGM, also a Nag variant. The MP-ATGM began testing in 2018 and saw its most recent successful tests in March 2019.