Nag Anti Tank Missile


Nag anti tank missile at Defexpo 2006. Photo Copyright © Vijainder K Thakur
Nag anti tank missile at Defexpo 2006. Photo Copyright © Vijainder K Thakur


Nag is a fire-and-forget anti-tank missile with 4-km range being developed by India's DRDO.

The missile designed to be carried either on NAMICA (Nag Missile Carrier) tracked ICV or the Advanced Light Helicopter. 

Design work on the missile started in 1988 and the first test was carried out in November 1990. The missile is currently being inducted into the Indian Army in limited numbers.


The missile features a high strength composite airframe with foldable wings and fins, Imaging Infra-red (IIR) seeker with high immunity to counter measures, onboard real time processor, compact sensor package and electric actuation system and digital autopilot.


Fire and Forget

The Nag is claimed to be one of the few "fire-and-forget" anti-tank missile, like the American Javelin, and the Israeli Spike. 

The Nag is a heavier than the Javelin and the Spike, both of which are man portable. The heavier and more powerful Nag is designed to operate from vehicles and helicopters.

Once launched, the nag doesn't need to be guided, allowing the launcher to seek cover. The missile can use its autonomous on-board guidance to hit even a fast-moving tank.

Image-Seeking Optical Guidance

The Nag uses indigenous image-seeking optical guidance, making it virtually jam-proof,  unlike infra-red seekers of the Javelin and the Spike missiles.

A thermal imaging sight on the launcher allows an operator to search for a  target under all weather conditions. Once a target is spotted, it locks the sight on it, causing a digital snapshot of the target to be stored in the autonomous guidance system of the missile as a reference image.

After launch, as the missile closes in on the target at 230 m/sec, an optical seeker on it takes repeated snapshots of the target, comparing each with the stored reference image. The guidance system translates deviations into corrective signals to the missile's fins to alter its trajectory and steer it precisely to the target.

RF (mmW) Seeker

Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad has developed a mmW seeker for the missile that will give it true all weather capability.

The seeker was successfully tested for the first time on December 11, 2011 at Army ranges at Ahmednagar in Rajasthan, in a Lock-on-Before-Launch mode from 2km.

In a future test, the seeker will be tested in 'Lock-on-After-Launch' mode to the missile's full 4km range.

Having developed mmW seeker technology, RCI eventually plans to offer similar seekers for surface-to-air missile, air-to-air missiles, anti-tank missiles and air-to-surface missiles. 

RCI also plans to develop a dual-mode seeker that can switch from IR Imaging to RF at any time. [via Hindu]

Top Attack

The missile has a top attack capability to strike a tank where its armor is the weakest.


The plume of burning propellant from the tail of an anti-tank missiles can alert the target to the imminent danger from the missile, allowing it to seek cover. The plume can also be tracked back to the launcher, exposing the launcher to retaliatory fire.

The Nag doesn't provide the enemy with a warning, or give away it's launcher's position. It is visible for just 1 sec after launch, within which the missile's booster accelerates it to 90% of its max velocity. A sustainer motor that uses smokeless nitramine propellant then accelerates the missile and sustains it at its top speed, making the missile practically invisible.

Tandem Warhead

The missile has what is called a tandem HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank) warhead. The warhead will have two stages – in the first stage the missile will make a hole in an enemy tank and in the second stage it will go inside and blow it up

User Trials

Final user trials with deliverable version of missile carrier NAMICA are scheduled for the summer of 2012. 

User trials have been underway since 2008.

Trials were carried out in July and August 2008 in Rajasthan. Winter trials of the missile were held in December 2008.

A second set of trials were conducted in August 2009 in Rajasthan during which the missile was fired at stationary and moving targets. The range of the targets varied from from 800 metres to 1400 metres.

Following the trials, the army asked for a capability to fire the missile from even shorter ranges.

Nag User Trial. Photo Credit: DRDO
Nag User Trial. Photo Credit: DRDO

The Hindu reported that the Nag was able to successfully engage a target at 500 m during at trial at the Army's Field Firing Range at Shamirpet, near Hyderabad on June 6.  The missile struck the target 3 secs after launch.

A week later on Sunday, June 13, a Nag successfully engaged a moving target in 3.2 seconds after its launch at 10.30 a.m. at the same test range. The missile punched a hole as it pierced through the target, which was specially developed by Hyderabad-based Delta Technologies in collaboration with DRDL.

Final Validation Trials

Final validation trials of the missile were carried out at the Chanan Air Force ranges in Rajasthan on Wednesday, July 14, 2010

During the trials - which were witnessed by Deputy Chief of the Army Staff Lt. Gen. J. P. Singh and Director-General, Mechanised Forces, Lt. Gen. Dalip Bharadwaj - the missile was fired two times each on a moving and stationary target, at ranges varying from 500 m to 2.6 km.

A decommissioned Vijayanta tank was used as the stationary target.

Each time, two missiles were fired consecutively within a span of few minutes against a moving and a stationary target. 

On all four occasion the missiles engaged the targets successfully.

Following the final trials, the Army is satisfied with the performance of the missile, DRDO officials told The Hindu.

Nag Missile Carrier (Namica) 

On Thursday, July 15, 2010 "flotation trials" of the Nag Missile Carrier (Namica) were conducted at the Indira Gandhi Canal, Nachna, during which the vehicle proved its “channel-crossing ability.” 

Namica is produced by Bharat Electronics Ltd., while the reconfigured launcher platform was developed by Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai. 

Each NAMICA can carry eight missiles in ready-to-fire mode.

Army Seeks Namica Improvements

On April 19, 2011, The Hindu reported that the Army has sought improvements in the Nag Missile Carrier Namica.

The Army wants two panoramic sights, one for the gunner and one for the commander. Currently, only the gunner has a panoramic site.

The Namica is being redesigned to incorporate the change by two separate vendors - Bharath Electronics Limited (BEL) and Larsen & Toubro.

The Army will conduct comparative evaluation of the two carriers in summer 2012, with the winning configuration being inducted into the Army.

Improved Namica Trials

On October 6, 2011, TOI reported that trials of the improved Namica are scheduled at Pokharan, near Jaisalmer next week. 


The missile will be produced by Bharat Dynamics, which will roll out 200 missiles in the first year and twice that number in subsequent years. It will replace Russian Konkours and European Milan missiles currently under license production at Bharat Dynamics.

Follow-up Versions
It is proposed to increase the range of the ground launched version of the missile to 7 km.

Helina Missile

DRDO is developing a helicopter launched version of the Nag called Helina with a range of 7-km.

Unlike the shorter range Nag, which acquires a target lock before launch, Helina will feature a "lock-on after launch" capability.

Helina missiles will arm the weaponized version of Dhruv ALH which will carry 8 missiles in 2 quadruple launchers mounted on either side, linked to a nose-mounted stabilized thermal sight and a laser range-finder package.

First fight test of the 7-km range missile is scheduled early 2012 and user trials are expected to start in 2013.

In April 2011, it was reported that a ground based Helina launcher under development successfully demonstrated an engagement at a range of 4.2 km.  

DRDO plans to carry out a guided flight test from ground against a tank target by the end of the year,


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