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Anti-tank Guided Missile (ATGM) | Science & Technology for UPSC CSE PDF Download

Introduction

An Anti-tank Guided Missile (ATGM), also known as an anti-tank missile, anti-tank guided weapon, or anti-armor guided weapon, is a precision-guided munition designed primarily to target and destroy heavily armored military vehicles. This article delves into the various aspects of ATGMs, including their sizes, technology, warheads, guidance systems, and notable examples developed in India.

Key features and technologies of ATGMs

  • Guidance Systems:
    • 1st Generation: Initially, ATGMs required manual commands from the operator to steer the missile towards the target.
    • 2nd Generation: Semi-automatic guided missiles, where the operator had to maintain sight on the target until impact.
    • 3rd Generation: These ATGMs are equipped with advanced guidance systems, such as electro-optical imagers (IIR), lasers, or W-band radar seekers, located in the missile's nose. They are often referred to as "fire-and-forget" missiles because once launched, they do not require further operator guidance. This allows the operator to retreat immediately after firing.
  • Size:
    • Small ATGMs: These can be carried and launched by a single person and are shoulder-launched.
    • Medium-sized ATGMs: These require a team of soldiers to transport and launch.
    • Large ATGMs: These can be mounted on aircraft or main battle tanks and can be launched from significant distances.
  • Technology Advancements:
    • Modern ATGMs can be fired from greater distances and still effectively engage light and medium armored vehicles, thanks to advancements in technology.
  • Warheads:
    • ATGMs use different warheads depending on the size and armor of the target. One common type is the High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead, which features a metal spike designed to penetrate armored vehicles.

Laser-Guided ATGMs

  • Description: Laser-guided ATGMs employ tandem HEAT warheads to defeat Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) on armored vehicles.
  • Launch Capability: These missiles can be launched from various platforms and are currently undergoing technical trials, including firing from the 120 mm rifled gun of the MBT Arjun.

Anti-Tank Missiles in India

DRDO ATM

  • Type: First-generation wire-guided ATGM
  • Speed and Range: Subsonic speed up to 300 ft/s with a range of 1.6 km
  • Warhead: Carries a 106 mm HEAT warhead

AMOGHA

  • Type: Guided ATGM
  • Range: Up to 2.8 km
  • Special Feature: Uses "thermal intelligent vision" for target engagement

NAG

  • Type: Third-generation fire-and-forget ATGM
  • Operational Range: 500 m to 20 km
  • Variants: Includes land version, helicopter-launched Nag (HELINA), man-portable version (MPATGM), air-launched version, and Nag Missile Carrier (NAMICA)

HELINA/Dhruvastra

  • Range: Maximum of seven kilometers
  • Capabilities: All-weather, day and night operation, effective against various armor types

SANT

  • Type: Smart Stand-off Anti-Tank Missile
  • Platform: Designed for launch from Mi-35 Helicopter

MPATGM

  • Type: Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile
  • Range: 2.5 kilometers
  • Special Features: Fire-and-forget and top-attack capabilities for infantry use

ATGM for MBT Arjun

  • Type: Laser-guided precision munition
  • Platform: Launched from the 120mm rifled gun of the Arjun tank
  • Purpose: Engage and defeat Explosive Reactive Armour-protected targets

Conclusion

Anti-tank guided missiles have seen remarkable advancements in technology and deployment options, making them formidable weapons against armored military vehicles. India's contributions to ATGM development showcase the nation's commitment to enhancing its defense capabilities. 

The document Anti-tank Guided Missile (ATGM) | Science & Technology for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course Science & Technology for UPSC CSE.
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