India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted the first & second successful test firing of a new indigenously designed and developed Man portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) at the Ahmednagar test range in the western Indian state of Maharashtra on September 15, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) said. All test objectives were met, according to DRDO.
The two missions on 15 and 16 September 2018 have been successfully flight tested for different ranges including the maximum range capability,” the MOD said. DRDO has promised the Indian Army to hand over the first MPATGM prototype by the end of 2018 for user trials. Mass production of the missile is expected to begin in 2021.
About MPATGM (Man portable anti-tank guided missile) :-
- The MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), which has been under development by DRDO in partnership with Indian defence contractor VEM Technologies Ltd. since 2015.
- Fitted with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead, the MPATGM reportedly boasts a top attack capability and has a maximum engagement range of about 2.5 kilometres.
Scrapping ATGM system deal :- The Indian government has scrapped a $500 million deal with Rafael for 321 Spike ATGM systems and 8,356 missiles in favour of the MPATGM system in December 2017.
Indian Army concerns :-
- The Indian Army remains deeply sceptical of the indigenous MPATGM and does not believe that it will be meet its operational requirements.
- Indian Army is also concerned about delays in the induction of the new weapon system. Therefore, consequently the Indian Army has been pushing for the acquisition of man portable ATGM from abroad, despite heavy opposition from DRDO.
- The Indian Army intends to equip all of its infantry and mechanised units with a third-generation ATGM by the early 2020s.