Nag missile test: 2006 - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Saturday 8 March 2008

Nag missile test: 2006

This test was conducted at the Pokhran Field Firing Ranges in Rajasthan. The tank target was placed at a range of 2500 metres. The Nag has, in other tests, successfully engaged targets at 4 kilometers and above.

For those who need reminding, the Nag is a Generation 3+ (the DRDO says Generation 4) fire-and-forget missile, which is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad. It is one of the five missiles being developed by India's Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). When the Nag is accepted into service by the army, the IGMDP will be formally closed.

The missile automatically conducts a top attack at ranges below 1300 metres. It has a tandem warhead that will defeat any Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) in service today. The warhead has been developed by ARDE, Pune and HEMRL, Pune.

The Nag performed well during the summer trials in June 2007, which were conducted through the BMP-based NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier). That is the vehicle in the video. Some glitches remained to be sorted out after the June 2007 trials. The army has asked for a higher level of ruggedisation (after one missile failed) and has also asked DRDL to improve user-friendliness: the display on the screens, fire controls and reduced reaction and aiming times.

The DRDL says it is confident that the summer trials in 2008 will validate all the technologies in the Nag. So far, one of the problem areas was in the missile's Imaging Infra-red Seeker, which homes it onto the target. That problem has been bypassed by importing the Focal Plane Sensor in the seeker from SOFRADIR in France.

Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will be the prime contractor for construction of the missile. The production strategy involved getting even the development missiles manufactured by BDL.

The army has also asked for a helicopter borne version of the Nag, the HELINA (Helicopter Launched Nag) with a range of 7.5 km. That is slated to be fitted in the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), which is being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Bangalore.


  1. Brilliant video Ajaiji, thanks a ton for posting it...

    Wish they could have shown the effects of the hit though. It looked gruesome, although I dont think it was as severe, since the gun didnt move even a bit... would have expected some effect if the turret had been penetrated or destroyed.

    Which tank was the target btw? Any idea?

    With your permission, could I put it up this video on Youtube. Would really love to do that.

  2. Superb ! Simply superb. Top attack was devastating. Now Al-Khalid/ T-80 UD tank commanders beware !

  3. sniperz11, never mind about the gun.
    Once a missile hits the internal of the tank is likely to go up to 1000s of centigrades.
    That will fry the tank men along with the electronics and electricals.

  4. Yes Nilanjan,

    Thats the reason why i was looking at the gun movement, if any. Hull penetration or destruction is usually visible by movement of the gun. The reason I was looking was to see if there indeed was hull penetration...

    Also, we really cant rely on cookoff of ammunition to do the job nowadays, since the ammo is well protected on most modern tanks.

    Wish they had shown us a few more seconds of that video.

  5. Sniperz, plz do post it on YouTube if you like.

    The impact of a shaped charge warhead (which, as you know, takes the form of a jet of molten metal that penetrates from outside to inside the hull) is unlikely to displace the main gun. If the main gun was displaced, it would be more likely to be from the accompanying secondary explosions... ammunition, fuel etc.

    Also, the effect of the Nag warhead was separately tried out at ARDE and HEMRL. Putting it simply, it works against any protection out there today.

    Will put up some more tests later.

  6. thanks Ajaiji,

    I have uploaded the video on youtube at

    Thanks for the reply. I wish DRDO had shown a few more seconds of the footage and the effects of the hit... there was metal (and substantial bits too) flying all over which is why I assumed that the turret had been penetrated, and blown out,which is why i expected some displacement of the main gun.

    One question though. the tandem warhead can defeat the ERA, but will the HEAT be able to penetrate the modern armor available today on the latest tanks? These T-72s are still at least a generation or two behind, and much more as regards to armor. Also, considering the 0.9m CEP, it would have to be able to defeat and penetrate any part of the tank to be effective, whether its the turret, the front hull near the driver or the rear, at the engine.

  7. How effective are the hard kill measures which might be gradually introduced into armoured vehicles, in dealing with such missiles?

    What are the chances of the introduction of such systems in our negihbourhood?

  8. I think you meant "conducts top attack at ranges _above_ 1300m"

    thanks for posting all these scoops which no other outlet is doing.

  9. No, I meant top attack at ranges under 1300 metres. That's because of the flight trajectory... it has a small boost phase, in which the missile rises upwards. By the time it levels out, it is close to 1000 metres. So it then has to descend downwards onto the target...and below 1300 metres, that means automatic top attack.

    This is not to say that it cannot do a top attack beyond that. It can. But it won't be a default setting.

    Sniperz, I think a lot of the stuff that is flying around is not the turret. I think it's the skirting plates, the external toolboxes and fuel tanks, and possibly the mudguards. The old derelicts that are used as targets have been lying around for decades and sometimes, if you cough near them, there's a good chance that some part will fall off! But that's not to say the penetration doesn't work... it's been checked at Pune, as I said.

    A good HEAT projectile defeats anything. It is kinetic energy projectiles that can be defeated by good modern layered armour, by deflecting the penetrator into an S-path. But a shaped charge chemical energy projectile comfortably slices through six inches and more of armour. You get hit by a tandem warhead missile... it's curtains.

    Devendra, no measures against this in our region. The Pakistanis use the 203 mm Improved TOW missile, which will kill any AFV we have.

    ATGMs are a tankman's worst enemy. They're bad enough when they are carried by a helicopter... but to me.. a manpack ATGM is the hardest threat to handle.


  10. Thanks Ajay, great video, had heard a lot about this NAG before but this is the first time i have seen it in work

  11. damn nice!! especially camera 2.. keep it up shukla!


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