India continues to buy second generation anti-tank missiles

Recently, the Indian Ministry of Defense placed a second order for anti-tank missiles of the Milan 2T type with the state-owned company Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). The contract provides for the production of no fewer than 4,690 missiles and continues the program launched in 2016 with an initial order for these missiles.

The Milan is an anti-tank missile that has achieved significant success in the past, but has been technologically surpassed by other more advanced designs. The technology is the second generation compared to the current developments of the fourth and even fifth generation. The Milan 2T is the tandem warhead version of Milan’s anti-tank missile, with a range of 1,800 meters, developed in the 1990s. While the first warhead is intended to detonate the reactive armor of battle tanks, the second warhead detonates within the target as soon as it is eliminated.

The acquisition of a veteran missile of this type is explained by the commitment of the Indian Ministry of Defense to the Make in India policy that sales of defense systems in the country must be done primarily through local companies who are aware of the knowledge. as transmitted by international technologists. Such is the case in Milan, which Bharat Dynamics manufactures under license from MBDA.

With this in mind, we will remember that the performance and guidance modes of anti-tank missiles have evolved significantly from the first models. They vary both the shooter’s role and exposure, as well as precision and range, and gradually facilitate their use.

The first generation worked according to the CLOS (Command-to-Line-Of-Sight) instructions, like those of the Swatter, Sager, SS-10, SS-11 or Vigilant missiles. The gunner must directly control the movement of the missile using a lever or joystick, which means that the gunner was exposed during the entire flight of the missile.

The second generation used the instructions SACLOS (Semi-Automatic-Command-to-Line-Of-Sight) with examples such as Swingfire, TOW, the aforementioned Milan, HOT or Dragon. The gunner no longer had to use a joystick, but instead had to keep the missile in flight in a viewing grid, with the command and control unit electronics being responsible for controlling the missile, making it easier to use the missile from mobile platforms such as helicopters. The link between the missile and the command system was initially established through an electronic cable that gradually gave way to fiber optics and, in some cases, a radio frequency link. A second generation, which was improved by the inclusion of laser guidance, emerged and led to missiles such as Bill, Mapats, Trigat MR or Hellfire. The semi-active laser guidance system (SAL) implies that the missile guides itself in the direction of a laser beam that is reflected from the target and emitted either by the launcher itself or by another element. Its effectiveness is influenced by atmospheric and meteorological conditions.

The third generation consists of modern missiles such as Javelin, Spike MR, Trigat LR or Nag, which are equipped with fire and oblivion technology so that the shooter attacks the target and the missile is independently aimed at it.

The fourth generation consists of missiles that, given the complexity of the modern battlefield, have the ability to update the leadership (fire and update) at any time. They often combine third-generation fire-and-forget guidance, but use a data link via fiber or radio to keep the missile under operator control at all times and a real-time assessment of combat damage after the missile’s action. Rocket. The first to reach this category was the already operational Spike Extended Range, or ER, followed by the MBDA MMP. (Jos M Navarro Garca)

Photo: An Extended Reach (ER) Milan, the only version currently marketed in Europe MBDA (MBDA)

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