A file photo of Nag Missile being test-fired. Photo: Special Arrangement
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: India on Sunday successfully flight-tested a milli-metric wave (mmW), all-weather capability seeker, onboard Nag -- an anti-tank, fire-and-forget missile. The test was held at the Army’s small arms firing ranges in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. The seeker was tested for a specific range of 2 km, while the Nag missile has the capabilities (proven) to hit targets up to 4 km.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief V K Saraswat confirmed to Express that it was for the first time that a home-grown missile was used as a carrier vehicle to prove the capabilities of a mmW seeker successfully. “It is a very significant achievement and we will now work towards increasing the range of the seeker. It’s a path-breaking work being undertaken by Research Centre Imarat (RCI),” Sarswat said.
(A seeker, in a missile is miniature a radar, mounted on the nose of the missile with which it detects the presence of the target, acquires it and tracks the target against which the missile has been fired. It also helps the missile generate necessary commands so that missile is guided towards the target in order to destroy it.)
Sunday’s test had for the first time a radio frequency (RF) seeker sitting pretty on an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Nag with ‘specific mission parameters.’ “The objective was to determine the capability of the seeker to track the target right from the point of the missile being fired up to reaching the target. Next step is to perfect the guided systems with the precision to hit tanks,” S S Mishra, Project Director, Nag, Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad, told Express from Pune. “The seeker has proven its worth in the lock-on-before-launch mode and now we will focus on the lock-on-after-launch mode,” Mishra added.
DRDO in the past had failed to succeed in designing mmW seeker(s) in the 3.5 km-plus range and the just-concluded test would probably give the scientists enough confidence to develop one for higher ranges. In addition, the Imaging Infra Red (IIR) seekers doesn’t work in adverse weather (fog, dust, smoke etc) conditions, hence the all-weather capabilities of RF mmW seekers come to the fore.
Interestingly, Missile Man Dr A P J Abdul Kalam mentions in detail the significance of developing mmW antenna for the Nag seeker head in his autobiography Wings of Fire. He had emphasised how India must overcome technological foreign dependence in creating these components.
(Copyright@The New Indian Express)