India fires a laser-guided ATGM from the 120mm gun of Arjun tank

NEW DELHI ($1=79.64 Indian Rupees) — At the end of June, more precisely on June 28 this year, the Armed Forces of India, together with the Defense Research and Development Organization [DRDO], as well as official representatives of the Ministry of Defense of India, conducted a launch test of a laser-guided anti-tank missile from the 120mm gun of the Arjun main battle tank. The test was successful and promising, India’s defense ministry said.

Bahrain seeks MBT, 120mm Arjun Mk II with Israeli ALWACS is an option
Photo credit: Tactical Report

BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that this is not the first test of such a combination. Two years ago [in 2020], India conducted a similar test, but the target was located at a long distance [the distance was not disclosed], while the test this year in June was to test the combat capability and effectiveness of the tank if it fired an ATGM at a short distance [distance is also not reported].

Both tests took place at KK’s test grounds located near Ahmednagar in western India. The ranges are operated by the Army Center and Armored Forces School [ACC&S].

India said the anti-tank missile launched was a development of the Indian defense industry and that New Delhi would use the Mestia ATGM on other platforms, but did not say which ones.

Features of Arjun’s 120mm gun

Arjun Mk II has an integrated 120mm cannon that can fire a very large set of ammunition – FSAPDS [Fin Stabilized Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot], HESH [High-Explosive Squash Head], PCB, TB, and the Israeli laser anti-tank missile [ LAHAT]. Interestingly, the cannon is equipped with a thermal sleeve, smoke extractor, and barrel orientation system.

The used ATGM is NAG

The most likely laser-guided anti-tank missile used was the NAG, an Indian anti-tank missile developed for air and ground platforms.

Depending on the launch platform, the missile has two names – NAMICA [NAG Missile Carrier] if launched from land platforms, as is the case, and HELINA if launched from a helicopter [NAG Helicopter Launch].

Bahrain seeks MBT, 120mm Arjun Mk II with Israeli ALWACS is an option
Photo credit: Wikipeida

NAG is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile in the style of “shoot and forget”, which can be fired at targets in both direct strike mode and top attack mode. Although it can fire day and night in a variety of weather conditions, it can also attack conventional armored battle tanks as well as explosive jet armored main battle tanks.

About Arjun MBT

In recent years, the Indians have managed to seriously reward their old version of the Arjun MBT to get today’s 120mm Arjun Mk II. India unveiled the Arjun Mk II for the first time in 2014 in February during a military parade in the capital, New Delhi.

The tank is powered by a 10-cylinder V-90 turbocharged diesel engine with charge cooling and water cooling. This engine provides the Arjun Mk II with 1030 kW at 2400 rpm. With a full tank of fuel, the tank can travel up to 500 km, and the maximum speed it reaches is 50 km / h on the road and 40 km / h on cross-country terrain, including off-road.

India fires a laser-guided ATGM from the 120mm gun of Arjun tank
Photo credit: DRDO

The armor of the tank is an Indian production type ERA [Explosive Reactive Armor]. Experts believe that it is equivalent to the Russian armor Kontakt-5 with which the Russian T-90 is equipped. Interestingly, the Arjun Mk II has a custom-made laser warning and response system [ALWACS], developed in collaboration with the Israeli company Elbit Systems, which is installed on each side of the dome. In addition, the tank has modern optics and an automatic device for sifting the target.

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