Even as India is yet to acquire Spike anti-tank guided missiles fired from shoulder from Israel, the Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) is conducting tests on indigenously designed Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM). The second flight test of the missile was successfully conducted on Sunday at the Ahmednagar range in Maharashtra.
The missile can be fired by an infantry soldier from his shoulder to destroy enemy tanks at ranges varying from three to four km. The Army desperately needs them to replace the older Milan and Konkur missiles.
The indigenously developed MPATGM is a third generation system and if it meets all parameters specified by the Army will be inducted into infantry and parachute battalions. The DRDO has developed the system in collaboration with an Indian private sector defence unit which is supplying sub-systems, sources said here.
The official statement issued after the test said all the mission objectives were met during trial and the two missions on Saturday and Sunday have been successfully flight tested for different ranges including the maximum range capability. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the DRDO, Indian Army and associated Industries for the twin success of MPATGM weapon system.
Equipped with fire and forget mechanism with lock before launch, the missile has an effective range of more than 2,500 metres. The warhead on the missile can penetrate 750mm to 850mm and the system is dual mode with the capability of day and night imaging infra red seeker. The total weight of the portable missile system is about 19kg, sources said.
With the Army needing more than 50,000 such systems, efforts are on to buy a limited number of Spike missiles from Israel through Government to government route to plug critical gaps as the DRDO missile will take at least three to four years before declared operationally ready, sources said.
As per earlier plans the Army wanted to buy more than 8,400 Spike systems in a deal worth over one billion dollars. However, the Government decided to scrap the plan and opted for the indigenous missile system. Since it will take some time, the Army has urged the Government to allow it buy about 4,500 Spike systems worth over 500 million dollars as a stop gap arrangement and the Government is favourably inclined, they said. The Spike system has longer range than the indigenous system and can hit a target beyond five kms.