DRDO successfully test-fires man-portable, Gen-3, anti-tank missile - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Tuesday 11 January 2022

DRDO successfully test-fires man-portable, Gen-3, anti-tank missile

Earlier tested to 4 km range; now validates minimum range of 200-300 metres


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 12th Jan 22


The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested the final deliverable configuration of an indigenous Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM) on Tuesday.


The anti-tank missile is a lightweight, fire-and-forget missile, which is launched from a man portable launcher, integrated with a thermal sight that allows it to be used in low-visibility conditions, even in complete darkness. 


It was launched by a two-man crew at a target that was mimicking a moving tank.


“The missile impacted the designated target and destroyed it. The final impact event was captured on camera and the test has validated the minimum range successfully,” stated the DRDO in a press release.


The MPATGM will now be built in large numbers in India, eliminating the need to import large numbers of Spike ATGMs from Israel, or Javelin ATGMs from the US, which was the earlier plan. 


Unusually, the test was carried out to validate whether the MPATGM is effective against tank targets at the lower end of its range spectrum, which is 200-300 metres. The MPATGM has already proven in earlier tests its ability to strike targets at its maximum range of 4,000 metres. 


Seldom on a battlefield does an infantryman have occasion to fire a missile at a tank from as close as 200-300 metres. Usually, the infantryman would take advantage of the MPATGM’s 4,000 metre range and destroy the tank from afar, before the tank’s main gun – with a range of 2,000-2,500 metres --  could accurately shoot at him.


The DRDO argued that ATGMs require about 400-500 metres of flight in order to stabilise and deploy their guidance mechanisms. However the army insisted on the MPATGM being effective and accurate at 200-300 metres.


“The present test was to prove the consistent performance for the minimum range… The missile performance has (already) been proven for the maximum range in earlier test trials,” stated the DRDO release.


In February 7, 2018, the MoD told Parliament that “on account of indigenous development of 3rd Generation MPATGM system by DRDO, the plan to build the Spike missile in India (321 launchers, 8356 missiles) was scrapped on December 20, 2017.


The MoD had sanctioned the development of the MPATGM on January 27, 2015 and its probable date of completion (PDC) was put at July 26, 2018. The project was allocated a budget of Rs 73.46 crore.


Furthermore the MoD’s first “import embargo list” of 101 items prohibits the import of “short range surface to surface missiles” from December 2020 onwards.

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