Indian Army and Anti-Tank Guided Missiles

Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) or Anti-Tank Guided Weapon (ATGW) is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored tanks and other armored fighting vehicles.

These range in size from shoulder-launched weapons which can be transported by a single soldier, to larger tripod-mounted weapons which require a squad or team to transport and fire, to vehicle and aircraft mounted missile systems.

At present, ATGMs are being used over by more than 130 countries and many non-state actors around the world. Some of the modern and popular ATGMs world over is AGM-114R, Spike, Javelin, and Red Arrow 12, Milan and Konkur.

Current Inventory of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles with Indian Army

In the Indian context, the Indian Army has a long overdue requirement of around 70,000 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles of various types and over 850 launchers to equip 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanized infantry.

However, it does not have even half of that number in the inventory, i.e. a shortage of over 40000 missiles of its requirement, which comes to roughly around 50%.

The Army units deployed in the plains are supposed to be armed with four medium-range and long-range ATGM launchers (each with six missiles), while, the units in Mountains Division are required to be equipped with one Launcher of each type along with six missiles.

Currently, infantry units of the Indian Army are relying on two man-portable ATGMs – the second-generation Milan and Konkurs ATGMs – of different variants produced by DPSU Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) under license from French and Russian companies.

Notably, while the second-generation French Milan, made by MBDA has a range of just more than 1 mile; the Russian Konkurs ATGM, designed and made by Tula Machinery Design Bureau, has a range of around 2.5 miles.

Understandably, both the current systems are deficient in advanced technologies, primarily the guidance parameters (guided by wire), short range and do not have night-fighting capabilities that mark the third and higher generation versions.

Also, to be noted, that these are based on vintage technology and most of them having been in service for more than three decades and requires a skilled and well-trained operator.

Hence, it is imperative that the Infantry is equipped with an advanced high technology based ATGM system with better accuracy, day and night capabilities and increased survivability which also lends itself to higher mobility due to its weight configuration to meet the enhanced threat.

The Army’s requirement envisages the upgradation from the current wire-guided ATGMs in the inventory to 3rd and gradually 4th generation ones that are top-attack, fire-and-forget, and night-capable and increased survivability.

Indigenous development of ATGMs

To upgrade from the current wire-guided ATGMs in the inventory to 3rd and gradually 4th generation, India undertook the development of indigenous ATGM Nag Missiles. The programme was initiated in 2009 with almost Rs 10000 Crores being spent in its development till dat.

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