Anti-runway and anti-tank missiles tested successfully: Defence Ministry

DRDO. Photo: ANI
The defence ministry on Sunday announced the success of two major new weapon systems developed by the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO). One is a precision-guided bomb, launched from fighter aircraft to incapacitate enemy air bases up to 100 km away. The second is an anti-tank missile, fired from helicopters to destroy enemy tanks as far as 7 km away. 

The indigenously designed and developed guided bombs — named the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) — was launched from Indian Air Force (IAF) fighters at Chandan range, in Rajasthan. The ministry stated, “The weapon system was integrated with live warhead and has destroyed the targets with high precision.” 

The SAAW is an accurate bomb and is termed a precision-guided munition (PGM). After its release from an aircraft, a sophisticated “inertial navigation system” on the bomb guides it precisely to its target — typically an enemy airfield up to 100 km away. 

Striking the airfield’s runway precisely with one bomb is more economical than using traditional free-fall bombs, which are less accurate and must therefore be released in large numbers to be assured of incapacitating the target airfield. 

Another advantage of SAAW is that, after releasing it at a distance from the enemy airbase, the aircraft can return without exposing itself to anti-aircraft defences surrounding most air bases. 

“Three tests with different release conditions were conducted from August 16-18 and all mission objectives have been achieved,” said the defence ministry. These were the eighth round of developmental trials SAAW has undergone. It is now regarded as ready for induction into the IAF’s arsenal. Separately on Sunday afternoon, in “summer trials” in the blazing hot Pokhran Range, an indigenous Dhruv helicopter launched a HELINA anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) at a tank target seven kilometres away, successfully striking and destroying it. 

HELINA is the acronym for “helicopter launched Nag” missile, a heavier and longer-range version of the vehicle mounted Nag missile with a 4-km range. 

The missile is locked onto its target through a telescopic sight just before it is fired. After it is airborne and is flying towards its target at 200 metres per second, it is guided by an “infrared imaging seeker”, that homes in on the target’s heat signature.

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