The timing of the success is even more significant as it has happened at a time when the border stand-off with China still continues
|The Author is Former Chief of Staff (COS), Central Command, Indian Army. He is an expert on Siachen and Ladakh with experience in counter insurgency operations in J&K and North East and is also an expert on Information Warfare.|
The Defence Research and Development Organisation tested two missile systems on July 21, 2021, which included a Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) for the Indian Army and a new variant of the Akash Surface-to-Air Missile — Akash-NG — for the Indian Air Force. Successful test-firing of the indigenously developed man-portable anti-tank guided missile is a major military development as the country was importing the Man Portable or shoulder fired missiles thus far which is the main stay of any anti tank battle especially in defensive operations.
The low weight, fire and forget, anti-tank guided missile was launched from a man-portable launcher integrated with a thermal sight and hit the target, a dummy tank, in direct attack mode and destroyed it with precision at 200 meters. The test has validated the minimum range successfully. It is pertinent to mention that the Missile had already been successfully tested for maximum range, which is 2500 meters.With this test, the MPATGM has met all the mission objectives as were laid out by the user. The uniqueness of the missile is its state-of-the-art miniaturized infrared imaging seeker along with advanced avionics, which is acknowledged as World Class.
The uniqueness of the missile is its state-of-the-art miniaturized infrared imaging seeker along with advanced avionics, which is acknowledged as World Class.
Most modern missiles can be fired in ‘top-attack’ and ‘direct attack’ modes. In the top attack mode, the missile is required to climb sharply after launch and travel at a certain altitude then plunge on top of the target. In the direct attack mode, the missile travels at a lower altitude directly striking the target. A minimum range of up to 500 meters has been the norm due to difficulty in stabilization of the path after the launch. Effective engagements of targets below the range of 500 meters, hence, are extremely difficult and therefore challenging. Hence, the successful test at 200 is a unique achievementand rightfully acknowledge all across the world.
Indian Army has placed an order for 4960 MILAN Anti Tank Guided Missile costing 1,888 crore in March this year. Last year in July 2020, repeat order for Spike Missile from Israel was inked. To have an indigenized missile has been huge gap andtherefore a major requirement. This successful trial has come as big boost for self-sufficiency in defence and a huge leap towards the "Atmanirbhar Bharat" (self-reliant India).
Our dependence on imports of critical items like this in the inventory at the time of crisis has been a big bane. The Acquisition wings have rushed repeatedly to vendors/friendly-foreign countries amidst the time of National Crisis. The timing of the success is even more significant as it has happened at a time when the border stand-off with Chinastill continues. The Indian Army, the end user of the product, has also welcomed this development very positively. Once the regular production starts and it is inducted in adequate numbers in the Army, the MPATGM will be sought after equipment by other countries as well because of its state of the art sighting and Fire Control systems. This in addition to enhancing self-sufficiency will also give a positive fillip to the defence exports, a field in which India wants to have a major stake in the world market.