Nag (missile)

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Nag (Prospina)
Nag with NAMICA Defexpo-2008.JPG
Nag missile with NAMICA ATGM carrier in the background. Picture taken in 2008.
Type Anti-tank guided missile
Place of origin India
Service history
Used by See Operators
Production history
Manufacturer Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)
Weight 42 kg (93 lb)
Length 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Diameter 190 mm (7.5 in)
Warhead 8 kg (18 lb) tandem warhead[citation needed]

Engine Tandem solid Propulsion
(Nitramine based smokeless extruded double base sustainer propellant)[citation needed]
Wingspan 400 mm[citation needed]
Land version: 500m to 4km (Air-launched: 7-10km)[1]
Speed 230 m/s[citation needed]
Active Imaging infra-red (IIR) seeker,
millimetric wave (mmW) active radar homing seeker (under development)[citation needed]
Nag Missile Carrier (NAMICA)
HAL Rudra Helicopter (Testing)
HAL Light Combat Helicopter(Planned)

The Nag missile (IAST: Nāga; "Cobra") is an Indian third generation "fire-and-forget" anti-tank guided missile. It is an all weather, top attack missile with a range of 3 to 7 km.[2][3] It is being developed by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and is manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited.[4]

As of 2017, the Nag missile is solely operated from the NAMICA ATGM carrier, a tank destroyer based on the BMP-2 platform.[5] The Nag missile costs about $500,000 USD per unit[5] and has a single-shot hit probability of 0.77.[6] The Nag missile has been described as "long-delayed"[7] and as of 2018 it has not yet entered service.[4][8]

Technical characteristics[edit]

The NAMICA version of the missile is a 'lock-on before launch' system, where the target is identified and designated before the missile is launched. As the targeting system is based on visual identification, the range is limited. The HELINA version on the other hand will use a 'lock-on after launch' system extending its range to 7 km. In this scenario, the missile is launched in the general direction of the target. As it approaches the target, images of the area ahead are sent back to the operator who will be able to identify enemy tanks. The command to lock on to a tank is then passed onto the seeker through an uplink mid-flight. After that, the missile homes in onto the target and destroys it.[1] It has a top attack functionality.[9]


A closeup of the Nag missile warhead showing the Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker
inside view

As of 2017, the Nag missile's only operational launch platform is the purpose-built NAMICA missile carrier.[5] A number of other variants are in various stages of development.


NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier) is a tank destroyer built for the army. It is equipped with a thermal imager for target acquisition. NAMICA is a modified BMP-2 IFV produced as "Sarath" in India. The carrier weights 14.5 tonnes in full combat load and is capable of moving 7 km/h in water. The carriers are capable of carrying 12 missiles with 8 in ready-to-fire mode. The NAMICA carrier was put through transportation trials covering 155 km during 2008 summer trials.[10]


HeliNa, (Helicopter-launched Nag) with a range of 7–8 km, launched from twin-tube stub wing-mounted launchers on board the armed HAL Dhruv and HAL Light Combat Helicopter produced by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). It will be structurally different from the Nag. The Helina will make use of an IIR seeker for target engagement like the Nag.[citation needed]

The Helina was expected to be tested by the end of 2010.[citation needed] The first ground launches of the missiles were conducted in 2011. During which the missile was launched onto a target and launched. While the missile was in flight, a second target was chosen for the missile to hit which got destroyed. This demonstrated the capability of the missile to lock onto and hit another target while in flight. A 2-way RF command-video data link has been released which is intended to be fired from HAL Rudra.[11]

On July 13, 2015, three round trials of Helina were conducted at Chandhan firing range in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. As per the defense source the missile was test fired from HAL Rudra and two missiles succeeded in hitting the targets at a range of 7 km, while one reportedly missed the target.[12]

On August 19, 2018, the Helina was successfully test-fired from a Rudra helicopter in Pokhran test range in Rajasthan. [13]

Air-launched version[edit]

An air-launched version of Nag missile with 10 km-range launched from tactical interdiction aircraft like the upgraded Jaguar IS. It will use a nose-mounted millimetric-wave active radar seeker.[citation needed]

Man portable[edit]

In 2005, the DRDO was working on a man-portable Nag version, which weighed less than 14 kg.[14]


Development of the Nag missile began in the 1980s under A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.[15]

Nag was successfully test fired for the second day in a row on 8 August 2008, from the Test Range at Pokhran, Rajasthan, marking the completion of the developmental tests. The DRDO and Indian Army plan to hold the user trial shortly.[16] These trials will be the final trials to decide the induction of the missiles.[17] The NAMICA carrier successfully completed its amphibious trials in the Indira Gandhi Canal at Rajasthan on 8 August 2008.[18]

In 2008, the Indian Army placed an order for 443 Nag missiles and 13 Namicas to be delivered within the next 3 years.[19] Nag will be the first ATGM of its type that will be inducted into the army by November–December 2009. The Army urgently needs the more advanced Nag to improve kill probability as the Nag missile using a high-explosive warhead to penetrate the armor in modern tanks.[16]

As of 2008, the missile's development had cost 3 billion (US$41.8 million).[19]

As part of the winter trial of the final user trials the Nag missile was tested successfully by the Indian Army on 26 December 2008. Before the induction of the missile into service and the summer trials were carried out in June 2009.[20]

During the winter trials the Nag missile zeroed in on the precise location of the target tank at a distance of 3.3 km, as required by the Indian Army. The Indian Army is also extremely satisfied with the performance of the warhead of the missile.[21] The test conducted on 28 December 2008 was successfully completed by the Indian Army. During the test a moving target at 1.8 km was targeted in the top attack mode and a stationary target at a distance of 3.1 km. The two targets were completely destroyed.[22] A total of five missiles were fired during day and night against stationary and moving targets. Summer trials were completed in the summer of 2009.[23]

The Nag will replace the existing Russian Konkours missile and European Milan missile, both of which are manufactured under license by Bharat Dynamics Limited. An Indian official said a country in the Middle East had shown keen interest in Nag anti-tank guided missiles during Abu Dhabi Defence Expo-2009.[citation needed]

In July 2009 the Nag anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) was cleared for production.[24] The production of the Nag missile was ordered after successful summer trials were carried out in the Rajasthan desert.[citation needed]

The trials of the missile were conducted using an advanced imaging infrared seeker head, as per Army's requirements. On 20 January 2010, field tests of the Nag’s Thermal Sight system saw the system identify and lock on to a T-55 tank at a range of 5 km. The tank was then engaged and destroyed at a range of over 4 km [12] thus the missile’s fire-and-forget capability has been established using the day version of the IIR passive seeker. In its IIR form the Nag has limited all weather capability. This has given added impetus to develop the mmW seeker. Efforts are on to provide special embedded on-board hunters, that can hunt for targets using ‘day seekers’ and ‘day-&-night seekers’. During trials in June 2010, the short range capability of the missile to hit targets was validated. Nag missile hit a target at a range of half a kilometers in just 3 seconds.[25] In the follow on test a moving target was hit within 3.2 seconds after launch.[26] The final user trials were held during July 2010 and successfully completed. The missile has been cleared for mass production. Bharat dynamics plans to produce 100 missiles per year. The Nag missile will replace the second generation anti-tank missiles in Army armoury.[27]

Nag was test fired as part of user validation trials on 16 July 2010.[28]

Reportedly, 450 Nag missiles along with 13 NAMICA carriers were to be inducted into the Army's arsenal by 2011 with the successful completion of final validation trials in Rajasthan, however, this may now take some more time after the missile's failure in the user validation trials.[29]

Nag has successfully completed its final validation trials and is expected to join the Indian Army in 2011. Two missiles were launched against a moving target at a time another two missiles were launched against a stationary Vijayanta tank in quick succession and successfully hit the targets. Indian Army is happy with the performance and is expected to buy 443 missiles for 3.35 billion (US$46.7 million).[27]

In 2011, the project suffered a delay of one year due to the army changing its requirements with the carrier of the missile (NaMiCa) at the last moment.[30]

The missile tested during the summer in Rajasthan failed to achieve its objective of hitting the target at the intended 4 km range. The scientists found the fault with the heat seeker unable to distinguish the heat signature of the target and the surrounding during extreme temperate at great distance. This led to the development of a better seeker with higher resolution and sensitivity by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), that can track and distinguish targets at long distances. The first trials of the new seeker were carried out on 29 July 2013 in the hot desert conditions in Rajasthan.[31] The evaluation trials carried out in September/August 2013 with the improved seeker provided fairly accurate results. Performance trials is expected to begin in early 2014.[32]

Nag, scored a “bull’s eye” and successfully hit the target 4 km away during a night trial in the Mahajan Field Firing Range, Rajasthan in Jan 2016. During the test, the Thermal Target System (TTS) developed by a defence laboratory at Jodhpur was used as target for the missile, which is in the final user configuration. TTS simulated a target similar to an operational tank as thermal mapping from tank to TTS was carried out for generating thermal signature.The trial validated the enhanced 4-km range capability of Imaging-Infrared seeker, which guides the missile to the target after its launch.[33]

Nag cleared final developmental trials held by Indian Army in the month of September 2016, making way for the indigenous Anti-tank weapon system to enter mass production.[citation needed]

The missile was tested successfully in 5 June 2017 at its max range of 4 km in hot desert conditions in a daytime trial at the Chandan Field Firing Range near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, with a successful follow-up test taking place on 13 June 2017.[34]

DRDO officials shared that the trials which concluded on Monday were successful for the extreme heat weather day conditions of the desert here. DRDO officials revealed that the missile would now handed over to Army with a 4-km range even during the peak day hours. Highly sensitive detectors have now been placed on missile tip for sensing heat or infra-red signals in three different thermal scenarios including that of a thermal differential within the target, between the target and the background and surrounding temperature variation. Prospina shall be mounted and transported on a Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicle.[citation needed] If the official sources are to be believed, the next trials will be those of 'User Acceptance Trials' by Army. The DRDO has bailed out the user from compromising upon the range of the missile which was earlier being offered at a 3-3.2-km range.[35]

On 8 September 2017, India's Ministry of Defence announced that DRDO has successfully twice flight tested the missile against two different targets in the ranges of Rajasthan. "The ATGM Nag missile has successfully hit both the targets under different ranges and conditions with very high accuracy as desired by the Armed Forces. With these two successful flight trials, and the flight test conducted earlier in June in the peak of summer, the complete functionality of Nag ATGM along with launcher system NAMICA has been established and marked the successful completion of development trials of Nag Missile," said a press release issued by Ministry of Defence.[36]

In 2017, the Indian Army said "The developmental trials of Nag ATGM carried out earlier this month have only proven partial success, and many more user trials will be needed."[5]

In 2017, the DRDO claimed that the Nag missile would be ready within 4 years.[37]

The developmental trials of the missile were completed and it was declared ready for induction on 28 February 2018, with two successful tests destroyed two tanks in desert conditions.[38][39][40]

In 2018, the DRDO chief claimed the nag missile system would be inducted into the Indian army by 2019.[41]


See also[edit]

Comparable weapons
Related lists


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  2. ^ "Kalam's unrealised 'Nag' missile dream to become reality next year". 30 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  3. ^ "DRDO's 'Nag' missile tests successful; ready for induction". Outlook. Press Trust of India. 6 August 2008.
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  5. ^ a b c d Raghuvanshi, Vivek (29 September 2017). "Indian Army wants more tests before ordering homemade anti-tank missile".
  6. ^
  7. ^ "300 anti-tank missiles to be inducted into Indian Army soon". India Today.
  8. ^ Rao, Shrenik (13 June 2018). "Opinion: Modi's Missile Dilemma: Why India Keeps Spiking, and Reviving, a Massive Israeli Arms Deal" – via Haaretz. Since then, the Indian army has delayed its induction, citing high expenses and numerous technical shortcomings, including inadequate thermal sensors. DRDO promises to deliver them by the end of the year, seeking more time to operationalize them.
  9. ^ Sputnik. "India Successfully Test-Fires Missile Rival of Israeli Spike & US's Javelin".
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  11. ^ (FINN) Frontier India News Network. "HELINA missile's two-way RF command-video data link realised". Frontier India. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
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  13. ^
  14. ^ "Helicopter version of Nag under way". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  15. ^ "NAG missile for Army, long-range guns for Navy". 27 April 2018.
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  21. ^ "News Archives: The Hindu". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
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  26. ^ "News Archives: The Hindu". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  27. ^ a b "News Archives: The Hindu". Retrieved 6 February 2015.
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  42. ^ Gurung, Shaurya Karanbir (27 April 2018). "DAC approves procurement of Nag missile system, 13 guns". The Economic Times.

External links[edit]