Hello defence lovers! On 11th January 2022, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the final deliverable configuration of the Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM). In this article, we are going to conduct an in-depth analysis of the DRDO’s MPATGM.
What Are MPATGMs?
MPATGM is a term used to define those guided anti-tank missiles systems which can be carried by infantrymen to engage enemy tanks. Generally, these systems consist of a missile and a launcher. The entire system must be light enough to be carried around by one or two soldiers at most on the battlefield. A few prominent examples are FGM 148 Javelin and the Israeli Spike missile.
DRDO began the work on the man-portable version of its NAG/Helina anti-tank missile in 2005 after getting the government’s approval. This missile was intended to replace the second-generation MPATGM, French Milan, and Russian 9m113 Konkurs. After 13 years of development in 2018, the DRDO test-fired the missile for the first time. The Indian army and the government ha faith in DRDO’s abilities and canceled a major defence deal of spike ATGM in 2017. However, India authorized the deal in January 2018 after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit. But subsequently, the Spike failed to qualify for the Indian army trials and the deal was canceled again in 2019. However, only a small number of missiles were procured to meet the immediate requirement. Thus the path for DRDO’s missile was clear and it promised to deliver the missile by 2021.
The MPATGM is third generation fire and forgets anti-tank guided missile. It is a lightweight derivative of the NAG missile. It weighs 14.5 kg and its Command Launch Unit (CLU) weighs only 14.25 kgs, which is one of the lightest in its segment.
Now let us discuss the most important part, the warhead, and the seeker. The MPATGM is equipped with high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead. However, most of the modern tanks have such good armor that heat rounds are almost ineffective against them. Only Armour piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds can penetrate the modern tank armors on head-on hits. However, these missiles do not need to engage the targets head-on. MPATGM like the American Javelin and Israeli Spike can attack the tanks in top attack mode. Most of the tanks, even armed with active protection systems are defenseless against top attacks.
The MPATGM uses the most advanced seekers. It is armed with an Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker which is powered with a real-time artificial intelligence-based image processing unit that helps the missile to reorient itself towards the most vulnerable section of the designated target to increase kill probability.
The MPATGM is powered by a dual thrust rocket motor and a tube-based ejection motor which gives the missile a range of minimum 200 meters and a maximum range of 4 kilometers. The CLU will be equipped with digital sights and a laser designator.
In the latest test, DRDO has validated its minimum range and it was the last developmental trial of the missile. Now it will be sent for user trials where the missile will be extensively tested by the Indian army. If it satisfies the Indian Amry then, the MPATGM will be manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited at a facility located in Bhanoor, Telangana.
Where Does MPATGM Stands?
As we have understood above, MPATGM is as capable as its American and Israeli counterparts. Moreover, the missile is indigenously developed and has made India self-reliant in terms of anti-tank missiles. Anti-tank missiles are costly weapons. Domestically manufacturing them instead of importing them is a tremendous feat. The made-in-India ATGM are world-class and will be cheaper than American and Israeli missiles once mass production starts. These missiles do have huge export potential.