Nag missile of DRDO fails in user trials

New Delhi: The long-delayed Nag anti-tank missile project of the DRDO has suffered yet another setback as its user trials held recently failed.

In the trials held in Rajasthan in presence of senior Lt Gen-rank officers from the Army and top DRDO officials, the modified carrier of the missile called NAMICA also under-performed, DRDO sources told PTI here.

In the trials held at the Mahajan firing range, four Nag missiles were fired of which only one could hit the target whereas the remaining failed to do so due to glitches in the equipment on-board the weapon, they said.

Army officials present at the test-firings were not happy with the performance of the missile and have asked the defence research agency to come better prepared for the trials to be held in the future, they said.

The missile has been under development as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) initiated in early 1980s and is now expected to take few more years to reach the induction stage.

Sources said the carrier of the Nag missile called NAMICA, a modified Russian-origin BMP-II personnel carrier, also failed to satisfy the users in displaying its capabilities in water during the trials.

However, the NAMICA met the requirements of the user in terms of its cross-country capabilities, they said. When contacted for his reaction, DRDO spokesperson Ravi Gupta said the trials were a "partial success".

"The Advanced Target Acquisition systems with both the Gunner and Commander have performed well," he claimed.

The spokesperson said these trials have "brought out certain deviations in the engine performance of the NAMICA BMP-II and those were being assessed by the experts." So far, DRDO has carried out more than 50 test-launches of the missile since it started its development in the 80s.

The DRDO is also working on developing the helicopter-launched Nag missile called the HELINA and its trials are also expected to be held soon.

The Indian Army has been awaiting the induction of the Nag missile for a long time now. In absence of any indigenous system, it uses the French-origin Milan anti-tank missiles and is also in negotiations with the US for procuring a significant number of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles.