SOURCE: Anand SG / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
The Indian government recently scrapped a planned massive USD 500 million deal with Israel for the purchase of Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) for Indian Army. A requirement for the purchase of 3rd Generation ATGM was felt more than 10 years ago since then Army has scrapped tenders multiple times due to various reasons.
This time the Purchase order was scrapped after State-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was able to convince Government of India that India was on the verge of a breakthrough in the development of indigenous Man-Portable ATGM for the Army.
Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) is a fire and forget 3rd generation Anti-tank missile which has been in development from 2015 by DRDO and its associated laboratories. MPATGM has a Top attack and Direct Attack capabilities which can be used by Infantry Battalions against Armoured vehicles up to 2.5km in range and will replace 2nd Generation Milan and Konkurs ATGM procured from the Soviet Union and France.
14.5kg MPATGM along with Detachable Command Launch Unit (CLU) will weight around 20kgs in carrying mode. VEM Technologies LTD a Private defence sector company which is collaborating with DRDO in development of MPATGM has said that the Anti-Tank Missile will be equivalent to American man-portable fire-and-forget FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile and in fact will be lighter then Javelin (22.3kgs with CLU) in carrying weight.
For a simple comparison, Indian Army’s Milan-2/2T missiles while used with French-made tripod weights 22kgs but due to maintaining common missile launcher for both Milan and Konkur missiles, Indian army uses a modified FLAME launcher which is heavier and has combined weight of 26kgs.
VEM Technologies LTD already has developed Launch tube section, micro servos for the missile and according to DRDO Static motor for the MPATGM has been tested and the final test might be conducted in 2018 with full configuration.
India’s anti-tank missile requirement is of around 44,000 ATGMs of different types . with an authorized holding strength of 81,206 ATGMs, present inventory is not even half of what Indian Army requires to fight a war dominantly. MPATGM will require smaller developmental testing time frame and might require more active private sector participation in its production if India plans to fill the shortage of ATGMs in Indian Army with only locally MPATGMs in next few years.