Categories: Missiles

‘Dhruvastra’ test-fired successfully: The helicopter-launched tank-killer will add to the military’s arsenal

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Advanced anti-tank missiles such as the US Javelin have what is known as “fire and forget” tech – once released, it locks itself to the target using digital imaging. The Dhruvastra too falls in this category.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Dhruvastra, a customised and updated version of the ‘Nag Helina’ range of DRDO’s anti-tank destroyers, can be fired from a helicopter to target enemy battle tanks, armoured vehicles and bunkers
  2. Once its target is locked, the Dhruvastra destroys it by first penetrating the tank’s outer explosive reactive armour and then the missile’s main charge annihilates the vehicle’s inner armour
  3. Dhruvastra was tested at the Integrated Test Range in Odisha’s Chandipur, with three flight tests carried out successfully last week

With the successful conclusion of the flight test of ‘Dhruvastra’, the latest variant of India’s indigenously built anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems, the military will soon have in its hands one of the world’s most sophisticated helicopter-launched anti-tank weapons.

Dhruvastra was tested at the Integrated Test Range in Odisha’s Chandipur, with three flight tests carried out successfully last week, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) revealed on Wednesday.

According to a report in news agency ANI, the tests were carried out in what is known as a ‘direct and top’ attack mode, and they met the criteria for success; further analysis of the data is still in progress.

The test was reportedly carried out from the ground using a launcher.

Dhruvastra, a customised and updated version of the ‘Nag Helina’ range of DRDO’s anti-tank destroyers, can be fired from a helicopter to target enemy battle tanks, armoured vehicles and bunkers.

Anti-tank missile tech

The primary purpose of antitank guided missiles (ATGMs), which can be both medium and long-range, is to destroy armoured vehicles including tanks. ATGMs use several types of guidance systems to do this, including laser, TV cameras and wire guiding.

Some are flexible enough to be used via an aircraft, by the infantry and through land vehicles.

Advanced missiles such as the American Javelin have what is known as “fire and forget” tech – once released, the ATGM locks itself to the target using techniques such as digital imaging. The Dhruvastra too falls in this category.

Some other lethal ATGMs in the world include the air-to-ground Hellfire II Romeo, developed by Lockheed Martin. which can be launched from fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, vehicles, boats and ground-based tripods.
the fourth-generation anti-tank missiles of the SPIKE family developed by EuroSpike (which can be launched by ground vehicles and from the air) and the Chinese Red Arrow 12, a portable third-generation anti-tank missile that can be fired by a single soldier using a tripod.

India’s Nag range of missiles

India’s DRDO has developed a number of state-of-the-art anti-tank missiles in the ‘Nag’ range. Include the Proserpina, which is used by the infantry and has a range of up to 4km. the Man-Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MPATGM), which can be launched from the shoulder and the Helina (Helicopter based NAG) missiles, which are customised for a helicopter-led assault on the enemy’s tanks.

Like the US Javelin and the Israeli Spike, the Nag is also a ‘fire and forget’ missile.

The induction of the latest Nag missile Dhruvastra will be a welcome addition to the Indian military’s arsenal.

Once its target is locked, the Dhruvastra destroys it by first penetrating the tank’s outer explosive reactive armour and then the missile’s main charge annihilates the vehicle’s inner armour.

Helina is a third-generation fire and forget class ATGM mounted on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).

The system has day and night all-weather capability. While the system is being inducted in the Army, its variant Dhruvastra is likely to be inducted in the Indian Air Force.

The successful test comes at a time of heightened border tensions with China, which has made unilateral attempts to occupy Indian territory along the disputed LAC over which Indian troops have historically had freedom of movement and patrolling.

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