The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested an indigenously-developed low weight, fire and forget, Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM) from Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool, in a major boost to India's indigenous missile development programme on 11 September.
This was the third successful test-firing of the 100 percent indigenous ATGM which is being developed for the infantry battalions of the Indian Army who would use them for taking out the enemy tank and other armoured vehicles during war times. Buoyed by the success of the missile test-firing, DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy told ANI that it was a major success for the missile project and India has become self-reliant in the field of anti-tank guided missiles.
"Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today successfully flight tested indigenously developed low weight, fire and forget MPATGM. The missile was launched from a man-portable tripod launcher and the target was mimicking a functional tank," said defence ministry spokesperson Bharat Bhushan Babu.
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"The missile hit the target in top attack mode and destroyed it with precision. All the mission objectives were met," he added.
What is MPATGM?
This is third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), that has been developed indigenously by DRDO in partnership with VEM technologies Ltd.
It comes with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead. The missile is incorporated with state-of-the-art Infrared Imaging Seeker along with advanced avionics.
According to The Financial Express, the strike range of this missile is of 2.5 kilometres and weighs around 14.5 kilograms, a feature that is critical to maintain portability. It has the capability to be fired from shoulder and can be used during the day and night.
The missile is expected to be deployed to the infantry and parachute battalions of Indian Army.
India had started working on MPATGM back in 2005. The first trial of the MPATGM was conducted on 15 September 2018, and second on 16 September 2018.
In 2019, the DRDO test-fired this missile for the first time on 13 March and the second test was conducted on 14 March in the Rajasthan desert, say reports.
The test paves the way for the Army to have developed third-generation man-portable ATGM indigenously, the defence ministry spokesperson said.
What missile is the army currently using?
Currently, the Indian Army uses the imported Milan 2T and Konkurs Russian anti-tank missile in the infantry but they are vintage missiles and the force is looking for a third-generation ATGM.
The Army recently had proposed to buy 3,000 Milan 2T ATGMs as a stopgap arrangement.
The Indian Army requires around 70,000 ATGMs of various types and around 850 launchers of different types. It is planning to procure third-generation ATGMs with a longer range than that of its existing Milan-2T and Konkurs ATGMs.
Army chief General Bipin Rawat has also provided full backing and support to the indigenisation efforts of the force.
Last year, the government had decided to scrap a programme to buy the Spike ATGM from Israel keeping in mind the development made by DRDO in this regard.
With inputs from ANI