Helina – Successful tests
– Alpha Defense
The Indian Army and the Air Force together carried out the joint user trials for DRDO developed Helina (Army) and Dhruvastra (Air Force) from the ALH in the desert ranges. As a boost to the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, the helicopter launched Nag ATGM or HELINA is ready for induction into the armed forces. The infra-red missile struck a 100 per cent success at test-firing trials at Pokhran ranges in Rajasthan.
The past 5 days saw the test of solid propelled anti-tank weapon with a range of over seven kilometres. It hit the target five out of five times at the range. It is now ready for induction on HAL Rudra and light combat helicopters. On Friday morning, the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force conducted the final test.
The HELINA missile is a third-generation anti-tank weapon with infra-red seeker, fire-and-forget features. It stands for Helicopter launched NAG missile. It is comparable with the PLA’s wire-guided HJ-8 or Hongjian-8 system and BARQ laser-guided missile developed by Pakistan.
The hellfire missiles with over 10 kilometres range form a part of the Indian Apache Longbow helicopters. But helina is the Indian solution to a helicopter launched anti-armour missile. This test assumed significance after the stand-off with the PLA in east Ladakh where they deployed large number of armour and rocket regiments. HELINA provides an option of taking down enemy tank beyond its range by using the fire and forget mode.
What is SANT?
DRDO last year tested the SANT (Stand-off Anti-tank) missile on OCtober 19, 2020 at the APJ Abdul Kalam Islands. Diving deep into the technical details, SANT is an improvement over the HELINA missile. Just like the HELINA, this missile also has ‘fire-and forget’ capability. It also has the ‘lock-on before launch’ and ‘lock-on after launch’ capabilities as well.
This missile has a rumoured range of 15 – 20 kilometres whereas the original HELINA has a range of 7-8 kilometres. This missile carries a wide band millimetre wave radar (seeker) in its nose cone. This provides exceptional accuracy for this missile in neutralizing its target in stand-off ranges. This missile will probably have a speed of 830 kmph.
It was for the first time in 2018 that the details about the existence of this missile began to flow into the public domain. The test trial of the missile was back then rom a MiG-35.. Last year’s conducted test was the final development trail and from that stage it will move on to user trails.
Parallels can be drawn between SANT and US’s Hellfire missile which also has millimetre wave radar. SANT is better in terms of range in comparison to Hellfire missile. There are a lot of variants in the Hellfire missile and this missile is comparable to the Hellfire in many ways. This can also have a price advantage over Hellfire missiles since it enables cheaper production.
The SANT Missile is equipped with the MM wave seeker that allows the missile to have a larger stand off range. Because of this, it allows the launch platform to launch the offensive without getting into the range of the target platform.
IIR guidance system offers the advantage of high resolution. However, in bad weather, the attenuation of the IR radiation even at 8-12 micron increases, thereby deteriorating the range performance considerably. On
the other hand, an MMW-based guidance system has relatively less attenuation. As a result it enables all-weather capability.
The use of such high frequencies at MMW is essential to accommodate active seeker. especially the antenna within the permissible diameter /dimensions of the ATGM. For the antitank role, the use of a W-band seeker is considered essential to achieve the required beam width with the limited size of the antenna.The immunity to attenuation helps MMW seeker to have a larger stand off range when compared with IIR seeker.
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