SOURCE: AMIT PANDEY/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat last year said that Indigenous Attack/combat helicopters HAL Rudra and HAL Light Combat Helicopter have major shortcomings, that is in their current configuration both do not have suitable anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), which is the main weapon of any Attack/Combat helicopters around the world.
Lack of ATGM on 60+ Rudra ALH Mk-IV helicopters and few Pre-production of LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) which have been already Inducted into Indian Army Aviation Corps, meant they lacked required firepower to be used as effective anti-armor, anti-bunker and anti-fortification role for the Strike Corps, but that’s about to change with coming of age of Indigenous HELINA and SANT anti-tank guided missile system .
HELINA which is air version of the Nag missile and comes with Infrared Imaging Seeker (IIR) against both moving and static targets and can engage targets up to 7-8km. HELINA a few months ago was tested for its full range and also cleared its IIR which now comes with far greater resolution than what has been tested earlier after missile went through user suggested changes.
HELINA is fast moving towards pre-production stage and it is likely to get pre-production orders from the Indian Army from next year and Missile system will go on to be integrated into LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) Units next so that when HAL handovers Limited Production units for the Indian Army from next year on wards, its not toothless.
SANT missile is the second anti-tank guided missile system which has been under development on priority bases due to the need for a long-range anti-tank guided missile system. SANT missile will have a range of 15-20 km and is equipped with a new, nose-mounted active radar seeker to help keep the launch platform at a safe distance from the target area.
SANT missile which has been integrated into IAF operated Mi-35 Hind Attack Helicopters have recently cleared some of the developmental trials and will be used as a multi-platform missile system which will also be integrated into high-altitude combat drones and also into strike aircraft.
HELINA and SANT are likely to enter mass production from 2020 on wards and will be the backbone of the anti-tank guided missile systems which will go to provide firepower to Indigenous Attack Helicopters in near future.
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