Dhruvastra is a slightly upgraded version of the Helina ATGM. Helina is an air-to-ground ATGM which is derived from Nag ATGM. After the initial success of Nag ATGM, scientists thought of making a helicopter launched ATGM for the army. To meet the additional requirements of an air-launched ATGM, they upgraded NAMICA and came up with a missile called HELINA.
So Now The Question Comes If The Air Version Of NAG Is Helina Then What Is Dhruvastra?
Indian Air Force and Army both operate their own Attack helicopters to accomplish their goals of national security. To integrate Nag ATGM or Helina in the helicopters of IAF, the DRDO scientists upgraded the Helina missile as per the requirements of IAF.
So, we can say Dhruvastra is the air-launched version of the Nag missile. Just like Helina but with several new features over Helina. And it is specifically made of IAF. Although both the missiles are very similar.
What DRDO Says About Helina?
HELINA (Helicopter based NAG) is a third-generation fire and forget class anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system mounted on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). The system has all-weather day and night capability and can defeat battle tanks with conventional armour as well as explosive reactive armour. The HELINA missile can engage targets both indirect hit mode as well as top attack mode. HELINA Weapon Systems is being inducted into the Indian Army (IA). A variant of HELINA Weapon System called DHRUVASTRA is being inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Specifications Of Helina/Dhruvastra
The missiles can fire up to 7 km. It can be launched from Twin-tube stub wing-mounted launchers and can be fired from both Advanced Light Helicopter MK-IV (also called Rudra) and Light Combat Helicopter. It is structurally different from Nag and is guided by an infrared imaging seeker (IIR) operating in the lock-on-before-launch mode for target engagement.
The first ground launch to check the Lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) capability of the missile was conducted in 2011 during which the missile was locked onto a target and launched. While the missile was in flight, a second target was chosen for the missile to hit, which the missile destroyed. This demonstrated the capability of the missile to lock onto and hit a target while in mid-flight. In the ground-launched LOAL test, the missile was launched in the general direction of the target. On approaching the target, images of the area ahead were sent from the missile to the operator via a two-way, radiofrequency, command-video data link. The operator identified the target in the images and updated the new target location into the seeker, after which the missile homed in on the target and destroyed it. It supports both top attack and direct attack functionality.
Latest Test of DHRUVASTRA Missile
3 More tests of HELINA missile were conducted on 13 July, 2015 and all meet their desired targets successfully.
On 19 August 2018, HELINA was successfully test-fired from a HAL LCH at the Pokhran test range.
On 8 February 2019, HELINA was fired with a range of 7–8 km from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur to check the maximum missile range and accuracy. The user trial of the Helina missile is expected to be completed by 2020.
Three developmental flight trials of Dhruvastra were conducted from 15th to 16th July (2020) at ITR Balasore (Odisha) from a ground-based launcher.
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