NAG (now PROSPINA for land attack version) ATGM on display at the Aero India Show 2017

The NAG missile (Cobra), also called "PROSPINA" for the land-attack version, is an Indian third-generation, all-weather, fire-and-forget, lock-on after launch, anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) with an operational range of 500 m to 20 km. Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the PROSPINA (formerly named as the NAG) missile is claimed to be far superior to the Javelin of the US and the Israeli Spike missiles.

PROSPINA, which has 'fire & forget' and 'top attack' capabilities, will be highly supportive to the mechanised infantry and airborne forces of Indian Army.

The Fire and Forget 3rd generation ATGM NAG is incorporated with many advanced technologies including the imaging infrared radar (IIR) seeker with integrated avionics, a capability which is possessed by few nations in the world. The capabilities of the top attack ATGM NAG is unique in nature and in the latest mission it successfully destroyed the target. Talking of the lethality, PROSPINA carrying an 8 kg HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank) warhead is capable of beating even the thickest of modern armours.

DRDO officials revealed that highly sensitive detectors have now been placed on the missile tip for sensing heat or infra-red signals in three different thermal scenarios including that of a thermal differential within the target, between the target and the background and surrounding temperature variations.


On 7 July 2019, the DRDO carried out three successful trials of the NAG missile in the Pokhran firing range. The missiles were tested during both day and night. The missile was reportedly in the final stages of being inducted. The NAG missile was successfully tested 12 times between 7 and 18 July 2019. It was tested under extreme weather conditions during day and night, in indirect attack mode as well as in top attack mode, and achieved a direct hit on each target. These trials completed the summer user trials and the missile was expected to proceed towards induction into the Indian Army. The missile was expected to enter production by the end of 2019, according to a senior DRDO official.

“The successful flight test of 3rd generation ATGM NAG further strengthens the country’s defence capabilities,” Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy, scientific adviser to the country’s defence minister & Director General (Missiles and Strategic Systems), said after the successful test in 2019.

Design And Features

The NAG anti-armour guided weapon's airframe is built with lightweight and high-strength composite materials. The missile features top-attack capability and has high immunity to countermeasures.

The missile is equipped with four foldable wings and has a length of 1.85m, diameter of 0.20m, wing span of 0.4m and weight of 42 kg.

A blunt nose cone houses the guidance system, while the middle portion accommodates a compact sensor package and the main charge of the warhead. A booster rocket motor is located towards the rear. Four tail fins are fitted at the rear to stabilise the missile while in flight.

A real-time image processor with fast and efficient algorithms is installed next to the guidance section to provide automatic target detection and tracking capabilities. The digital autopilot offers guidance, stability and control for the missile during the flight.

NAG is also outfitted with an electric actuation system for flight control. The NAG rises upwards suddenly and then bends at a steep angle to aim for the target.

Guidance And Warhead

The missile incorporates an advanced passive imaging infrared (IIR) homing guidance system and possesses high single-shot kill probability. It is designed to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured targets. NAG can be launched from land and air-based platforms. The land version is currently available for integration on the NAG missile carrier (NAMICA), which is derived from a BMP-2 tracked infantry combat vehicle. The missile can be optionally offered with a millimetre wave active radar seeker.

The NAMICA variant has lock-on-before launch capability, while the air-launched configuration uses lock-on after launch technology.

An 8kg tandem-shaped charge high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead, with a precursor and a main charge, provides the weapon with a high kill probability.

The precursor charge penetrates the explosive reactive armour (ERA) of the tanks and the main charge is intended to destroy the main armour.

The Army has a total requirement of 40,000 anti-tank guided missiles in the next 20 years and desperately needs missiles like PROSPINA which can hit high-speed moving tanks without support of operator.

Propulsion And Performance

The NAG anti-armour guided missile is fitted a with high-energy propulsion system consisting of booster and sustainer propellants. The sustainer propellant burns a nitramine smokeless extruded double base (EDB).

The weapon can fly at a speed of 230m/s and has the capability to engage both static and moving targets under all weather conditions during the day and at night. The range of the land version is 4 km, while HELINA can reach up to 7 km.

Purchase Decision

DRDO has developed this missile at a cost of more than $51 million. Israeli Spike has won the government tender in 2014 but single vendor situation may create problem for inking the deal during Modi’s visit to Israel in July. India’s defence procurement policy has not allowed such purchase where only one company becomes eligible for tender.

The Army may consider Spike purchase as Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems has agreed to transfer the technology under the Make in India project, whereas the contract may be signed for building 1,500 systems and around 30,000 additional missiles in India.

On the other hand, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Company had entered into a deal with TATA Power for the co-development and production of Javelin anti-armour missile system last September.

If Army officers are satisfied with PROSPINA, the government is likely to prefer it against any foreign missile because of its superior contemporary design and performance characteristics.

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