The indigenously developed Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Guided Missiles ATGM were successfully test-fired from Main Battle Tank MBT Arjun by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Army at KK Ranges with support of Armoured Corps Centre and School Ahmednagar in Maharashtra.
- The missiles hit with precision and successfully destroyed the targets at two different ranges. Telemetry systems have recorded the satisfactory flight performance of the missiles.
- The all-indigenous Laser Guided ATGM employs a tandem High Explosive Anti-Tank HEAT warhead to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour ERA protected armoured vehicles.
- The ATGM has been developed with multi-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from 120 mm rifled gun of MBT Arjun.
- The development of ammunition that can pierce the armours of tanks and the material that can withstand such ammo has been an ongoing race since World War I. But it wasn’t until the next World War that armies across the world began to use the ATGMs, missile systems that can strike and neutralise armoured vehicles such as tanks.
- While Indian Army mainly uses various imported anti-tank guided missiles, the DRDO has been working on ATGMs that can be launched from different platforms as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
- The indigenously developed low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Anti Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) was successfully tested in September 2019.
- In February 2018, ATGM Nag was successfully tested in desert conditions. In the meantime, the government said in December 2019 that it has procured Anti-Tank Spike Missiles from Israel along with the allied systems to meet operational requirements of the Indian Army.
How are laser-guided ATGMs different?
- The laser-guided ATGM, which was successfully tested recently, mainly differs in one aspect from other ATGMS developed till date. This ATGM is designed to be fired from tanks.
- With its range limited to 1.5 to 5 kilometres, it locks and tracks the targets with the help of laser designation to ensure precision in striking the target.
- The missile uses a ‘tandem’ High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT) warhead. The term tandem refers to the missiles using more than one detonation in order to effectively penetrate the protective armours. This missile has the capacity of piercing armoured vehicles which use specially designed armour plates to counter the impact of such projectiles.
- This missile is currently undergoing tests to be integrated with India’s Main Battle Tank (MBT), Arjun.
Importance in armoured warfare –
- The role of armoured and mechanised vehicles has remained decisive even in modern day warfare because of their ability to go past conventional defences.
- Tank battles are generally fought in a close range of under five kilometres. The objective is to hit the enemy tank before they can take a clear shot. Development of missile systems that can defeat tanks built using modern armour act as a deterrent against enemy tanks from advancing.
- The operability of the missile from a tank is a key feature in armoured warfare. The missile has the capability of engaging with the target even if it is not in the line of sight, thus further enhancing its capability.