19:00 GMT28 July 2021
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    The successful tests of the man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM), developed by state-run DRDO, come less than a year after the Indian government scrapped a $500 million deal for the Israeli Spike-MR.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian defense scientists have successfully conducted back-to-back tests of the new indigenously designed and developed man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM). The tests were conducted at the Ahmednagar test range in the western state of Maharashtra.

    READ MORE: India Successfully Tests Home-Grown Low Altitude Ballistic Missile Interceptor

    The MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile which is fitted with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead. The MPATGM reportedly boasts a top attack capability and has a maximum engagement range of about 2.5 kilometers. Eight static tests of rocket motor were conducted to achieve consistent ballistic performance last year.

    Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, after calling off the planned purchase of Israeli Spike-MR in November last year, had directed the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to deliver countrymade man-portable fire and forget guided missile.

    "The two missions on 15 and 16 September 2018 have been successfully flight tested for different ranges including the maximum range capability," the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

    India had decided to settle for an indigenous MPATGM platform after a committee headed by a major general examined various aspects related to the Spike MR-deal and recommended developing a homemade anti-tank guided missile.

    The decision was made despite the Indian army headquarters having highlighted "the operational urgency of the equipment," arguing that the Spike would give "a major capability impetus to troops deployed on the Line of Control (LC), especially in the current operational scenario." The deal included over 8,356 missiles, 321 plus launchers and requisite technology transfer to India's state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited initially. Spike-MR was chosen over the American Javelin, which had offered missiles having a range of four kilometers as a "Make-in-India" project.

    READ MORE: India Tests Glide Bombs, Allegedly More Precise, Cheaper Than Missiles

    Indian government sources told Sputnik that the first MPATGM prototype is expected to be handed over to the Indian army by the end of 2018 for user trials. Mass production of the missile is expected to begin in 2021.

    Nevertheless, the Indian army is still pushing to acquire at least 2,500 Spike-MRs as a stopgap measure to quickly address the capability gap. The Indian army says it requires at least 40,000 anti-tank guided missiles in the next 20 years.


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