INDIAN ARMY TO BUY FRENCH MILAN ATGM AS INVENTORY FALLS
By Bulbul Singh
09 Aug 13. The Indian Ministry of Defence has cleared the purchase of additional 4500 Milan 2-T anti-tank missiles (ATGM) valued at $200 million for the Indian Army to fill the gap in severe shortfall of the ATGMs. Under this programme state-owned Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (BDL) will manufacture Milan 2-T missile under technology transfer from MBDA of France.
The Milan 2-T ATGMs are currently built under license from MBDA of France by Hyderabad based BDL. The Indian Army had been persistently demanding the Ministry of Defense to clear purchase of variety of ATGMs following shortfall in the inventory of variety of ammunition including the ATGMs.
A senior Indian Army official said the MILAN 2-T will be armed with a tandem warhead for use against reactive armour of tanks which are protected with Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) and will increase the kill chances of enemy tanks. The Milan 2-T can also be troop carried as against the home made Nag ATGM which will have to be mounted on a chassis, added the Army official.
Currently Indian ATGMs inventory includes Milan-2 and Konkurs being manufactured by BDL under license from France and Russia. Besides, Kornets from Russia and Spike from Israel have been procured in small quantities for trial and testing on Indian Army’s amour.
The Indian Army has had problems with Russian made Konkurs –M ATGMs but the orders for the Russian missiles are still in the pipeline for use by the infantry formations of the Indian Army.
The Indian Army has also given orders for 443 pieces of homegrown Nag ATGMs and 13 Namicas (Nag missile tracked carriers) but the date of delivery of the homegrown systems is still not sure..
The Nag ATGMs will be used for anti-tank formations while the Milan 2-T ATGMs will be used for both infantry and anti tank formations.
The Indian Army is to buy the homemade Nag ATGM equipped with Imaging Infra-red seeker (IIR) and a highly potent tandem HEAT (high explosive anti-tank) warhead. The day-and-night third generation missile with top-attack capability has a maximum range of four kilometers. BDL has produced the Imaging Infra Red (IIR) Seekers, the technology of which was developed by state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the 3rd generation Nag ATGM.
The Nag was to have replaced the existing Russian Konkours and European missile Milan. Though DRDO shelved its plans to build a wire-guided system for Nag, it continues to work on ‘Helina’, the helicopter or air launch version of Nag.
Meanwhile India’s missile complex of DRDO is planning to hold tests of the third-generation Nag ATGM. Last year failed in its user trials by the Indian Army in Rajasthan. DRDO blamed it upon the high temperatures in the desert where the tests were conducted.
The homemade Nag missile with a four kilometers range will also be manufactured by BDL. Conceived in 1983 the Nag missile developed by the DRDO is already ten years behind scheduled. It is a third-generation, top attack, fire and forget missile using Infra Red guidance system.
Besides the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has also made a request to the Indian defense ministry for the purchase of unknown number of ATGMs for use by helicopters in IAF.
The Indian Army has a shortfall of third generation vehicle mounted ATGMs. As such it has awarded a contract for buying Spike Anti Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) from Rafael of Israel, to fill the falling inventory.
The Indian Army entered the global market in 2010 to procure third generation Anti Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) along with missiles and the Request for Proposal (RFP) had been sent to MBDA of France, Raytheon and General Dynamics of U.S. Rafael of Israel and Rosoboronoexport of Russia. However, deswpite4 being a single vendor, the Israeli company was awarded the contract.
The Indian Army proposes to buy third generation ATGM systems