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Indigenous Laser Guided ATGM

SAMHO, the all-indigenous laser guided anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) employs a tandem high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead to defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles in ranges from 1.5 km to 5 km

August 15, 2022 By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd) Photo(s): By PIB, DRDO
The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army

 

Laser Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) successfully test fired from MBT Arjun Tank at KK Ranges, Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC&S) Ahmednagar, Maharashtra on September 22, 2020.

On August 4, 2022, India successfully test-fired indigenous laser-guided anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) 'SAMHO' from the Main Battle Tank (MBT) 'Arjun' at the KK Ranges near Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. The missiles hit with precision and successfully destroyed the targets at both minimum and maximum ranges. Telemetry systems deployed for the mission have recorded the satisfactory flight performance of the missiles. According to defence sources, the indigenously developed laser-guided ATGMs were successfully flight tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Army with the support from the Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC&S), Ahmednagar.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has complimented DRDO and Indian Army for the successful performance of the laser guided ATGMs. Secretary of Department of Defence R&D and Chairman of DRDO Dr G. Satheesh Reddy congratulated the teams associated with the test firing of laser guided ATGMs. He said the consistency of ATGM's capability to engage targets from minimum to maximum range has been established successfully during the trials.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has complimented DRDO and Indian Army for the successful performance of the laser guided ATGMs

ATGMs are primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily armoured military vehicles. The missiles can be transported by a single soldier, to larger tripod-mounted weapons, which require a squad or team to transport and fire, to vehicle and aircraft mounted missile systems. This type of guided missiles, rely on an electro-optical imager (IIR) seeker, a laser or a W-band radar seeker in the nose of the missile. These are 'fire-and-forget' missiles where the operator can retreat right after firing as there is no more guidance required.

The SAMHO Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) being developed under Cannon Launched Missile Development Programme is designed to be launched from the MBT ARJUN tank gun.

The indigenous SAMHO laser-guided missile, successfully tested on August 4, has been developed with multi-platform launch capability by Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in association with the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) and the Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun. It is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from 120mm rifled gun of MBT Arjun. The missile locks and tracks the targets with the help of laser designation to ensure precision hit accuracy. The all-indigenous laser guided ATGM employs a tandem high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead to defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles in ranges from 1.5 km to 5 km.

The indigenous SAMHO laser-guided missile, successfully tested on August 4, has been developed with multi-platform launch capability

The development of SAMHO gun-launched anti-tank guided missile was announced in 2014. Its development took place under the Cannon Launched Missile Development Programme (CLMDP). The first trial of SAMHO was carried out successfully on September 22, 2020, from an Arjun tank without an active warhead. The missile was able to engage the target kept at a distance of 3 km. The second successful missile firing was undertaken on October 1, 2020. On June 29, 2022, the third test was conducted, in which the DRDO successfully tested the missile to engage target from minimum and maximum range. This time DRDO also solved the dimensional constraints of tank launched ATGM. This was followed by the successful test-firing on August 4, as mentioned above.

DRDO successfully test fires indigenously developed laser-guided ATGMs.

Gun-launched missiles, a subset of cannon-launched guided projectile, are usually anti-tank guided missiles that are fired from tank guns, and sometimes have a claimed limited anti-helicopter capability like the Chinese GP105 fired from 105mm gun. The GP105 (GP2) 105mm tank gun-launched missile manufactured by China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO) is a laser beam-riding missile, which can be fired from tank and armoured fighting vehicle turrets sporting 105mm guns. The missile remains fully compatible with other 105mm rounds.

SAMHO is a multi-purpose anti-armour guided missile effective against tanks as well as low flying attack helicopters

The GP105 (GP2) 105mm tank gun-launched missile has a five kilometre range. The gunner places the aiming point on the target and keeps it there before and after the missile is fired. The laser receivers on the missile tail receive encoded trajectory correction signals, which are processed to alter the position of the control fins and thus guide the missile towards its target. The missile has a tandem warhead capable of defeating explosive reactive armour.

Aside from the GP105 (China) and SAMHO (India), other countries who have tank gun-launched missiles include:

  • France Anti-Char Rapide Autopropulse (ACRA) 142mm ATGM tested on a version of the AMX-30 MBT;
  • Israel LAHAT ATGM used with 105mm and 120mm tank guns;
  • Russia 9K112 Kobra (AT-8 Songster), 9M119/120 (Refleks/Refleks-M/Avirf (AT-Sniper) and other types fires from 100mm, 115mm and 125mm guns;
  • US MGM-51 Shillelagh fired from 152mm gun and XM1111 Mid-Range Munition, and;
  • Ukraine Falarick 120, 105 and Falarick 90 ATGM Cockerill guns made by the Belgian arms manufacturer CMI Defence.

The SAMHO tank-gun launched missile has a diameter of 120mm and an operational range is 1.5 km to 5 km. SAMHO's dual high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) tandem warheads are designed to defeat explosive reactive armour (ERA) protection of modern armoured vehicles and tanks. Significantly, the SAMHO is a multi-purpose anti-armour guided missile effective against tanks as well as low flying attack helicopters. The DRDO is planning to make SAMHO compatible with the T-90 tanks of the Indian Army, which has a 125mm smoothbore gun. These are good developments which will enhance the firepower of our tanks.