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By Bulbul Singh

28 Aug 05. The forthcoming visit of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to France in September will bail out the homegrown anti tank Nag missile after Thales threatened to supply a key component for the Nag missile.

Officials in the Defense ministry say India and France will thrash out the sticky issue of supply of seeker head systems for the Nag anti tank missiles by Thales. Though the officials refused to give how the issue will be thrashed out to save the Nag missile sources in the Indian defense ministry say, the Indian Prime Minister will assure Paris that some of the pending defense pending projects in India in various stages of negotiations will be speeded up. France is particularly keen to get the sale of six Scorpene submarine through to the Indian Navy and the negotiations are now underway for over four years.

The seeker head is a crucial component for the Nag missile under development in Indian defense laboratories and the seeker system guides the nag missile. The imaging infra-red passive seeker head ensures high hit accuracy.

The anti tank missile Nag has so far been tested with French made seeker systems and now India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)is seeking transfer of technology for the seeker head systems.

The missile is indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory, (DRDL) under the Indian defence research agency, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). So far around 40 test trials of the Nag missile have been undertaken and the missile will undergo around a dozen more tests before the missile is sent for serial production at India’s sole missile production laboratory. The Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in Hyderbad in southern India. Currently the Indian Army is using the Russian made Konkours and the Milan M2 anti tank missile. There is a demand of around 500 Nag missiles and 100 such missiles from the Indian Air Force on an annual basis.

Nag is a third generation, all weather, top-attack, fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile which was conceived under the missile program in 1987 titled Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) of state-owned defense research agency, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The DRDO tested the Nag missile for the first time in 1987 but thereafter problems emerged with its “intelligence eye”

The Nag missile is fire and forget anti tang guided missile with a range of over 4 kilometers. It has a solid propellent motor. The Nag missile has been developed to counter counter contemporary advances in tank armour and meet the requirements of the Indian Army and also the Indian Air Force.

The missiles are to be mounted on a tracked vehicle equipped with a line of sight radar. The radar will detect the target, pass on the information onto a computer which will within seconds pass on the target information to the missile. The missile will then align its sights with that of the radar and take off and chase the target wherever it goes. A DRDO scientist giving details of Nag said the smokeless propellant developed for the missile will prevent easy detection of the launcher which can scoot immediately after shooting

The state-of-the-art Imaging Infra Red homing guidance system has been developed which has lock-on-before-launch capability for day and night operation. A smokeless nitramine based propellant has been developed for the Nag”. The missile is also proposed to be mounted on the homegrown Advanced Light Helicopter for the Indian Air Force.

The Nag missile uses a tandem HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank) warhead to penetrate ERA (Explosive Reactive Armour) or composite armor that is found in modern tanks.

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