India has begun working on an indigenous man-portable anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), despite a U.S. proposal to co-produce the Javelin ATGM.
The project — a third generation Nag missile — is unlikely to derail the proposed Javelin deal, which is in only the preliminary stages of negotiation with the U.S., an Indian ministry official was quoted as saying by Defense News.
The Indian Army has a requirement for more than 20,000 third generation man-portable ATGMs, and all attempts to procure them from foreign countries over the past eight years has not been successful.
Israel’s offer of its Spike ATGM was rejected in 2007 because it was the only vendor to respond to the tender. The U.S., meanwhile, refused to transfer technology last year after a proposal to buy the Javelin on a government-to-government basis.
The full details of Washington’s latest Javelin proposal have not been released, but the U.S. wants to sell around 6,000 units within one year of the signing of the contract. In the future, the US would explore co-production of the Javelin and, at a later stage, work on the co-development of an ATGM tailor-made for India, according to Defense News.
The U.S. would also transfer Javelin technology, including the manufacture of the warhead, rocket motor, propellant, guidance and seeker, but no algorithms for guidance.
A team from Raytheon and Lockheed Martin has briefed the Indian MoD on the possibilities to be explored in the Javelin project, an Indian MoD official was quoted as saying in the report.
A Lockheed Martin says Javelin is better than any other man-portable ATGM because it is ejected non-explosively, which is useful to the Indian Army in higher terrain, the report added.
DRDO, meanwhile, has begun work on the Nag missile, which would weigh only 16 kilograms compared to Javelin’s 26 kilograms, the DRDO official was quoted in a report. The man-portable version of the Nag missile is simpler than the vehicle-mounted version and, as such, could be developed in the next three years.
The Indian Army uses second generation, French-made Milan and Russian-made Konkurs ATGMs, which have a range of less than 2,000 meters.