DRDO MPATGM versus Spike Battle Continues
On 14 March this year (2019) Army, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired indigenously developed, low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) for the second time in two days in the ranges of Rajasthan desert.
MPATGM is incorporated with advanced features including state-of-the-art Imaging Infrared Radar (IIR) Seeker with integrated avionics. The first test was conducted on 13th March 2019.
In both the missions, the missiles hit the designated targets precisely at different ranges. All the mission objectives were met as per the Ministry of Defence Press Release.
This was the third time the MPATGM was tested.
On 15 and 16 September 2018 the MPATGM was successfully flight tested for different ranges including the maximum range capability at Ahmednagar, the centre for Indian mechanised forces.
As per Army Technology, the MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank missile which will replace the Indian Army’s second-generation Milan and Konkurs ATGMs. The 14.5kg fire-and-forget weapon system, equipped with a detachable command launch unit (CLU), will weigh approximately 20kg in carrying mode. The missile has an operational range of 200m and 2.5km with a single kill probability of more than 90%, in addition to soft launch capabilities. The private sector company VEM Technologies is manufacturing the missile sub-systems for the weapon system and is developed by the DRDO Lab DRDL.
Multiple media reports indicated that the DRDO has assured delivery of the MPATGM by 2021 thus the Ministry of Defence has cancelled the plan to import 8,000 ‘Spike’ ATGM missiles and 300 launchers from Israel a second time with the first cancellation being in January 2018. This time it is believed that the government-to-government deal for purchasing 5,000 Spike ATGMs from Israel has been cancelled.
The MPATGM is preferred over the Spike-MR which has missile weight of 14 kg (30 lb 14 oz), its minimum range is 200 m, while its maximum range is 2,500 m (1.6 mi) and is used by the infantry and special forces as per the Wikipedia.
The Indian Army continues to be sceptical of timely delivery by the DRDO.