BALASORE: The upgraded version of the third generation anti-tank Helina missile — SANT missile (Stand-off Anti-Tank Guided Missile), the air to ground version, has been successfully tested, at the Integrated Test Range in Odisha’s Chandipur. The flight test of the missile was successfully conducted by DRDO and other officers of Indian Air force (IAF).

According to a report in news agency ANI, the tests were carried out in what is known as a 'direct and top' attack mode, and they met the criteria for success; further analysis of the data is still in progress.

The SANT missile has been developed by DRDO’s research centre Imarat, in association with Indian Air force, and is an upgrade of Helina’s missile, which had a range of 7-8 km. The new missile has a range of 15-20 km and is equipped with a new nose-mounted active radar seeker, to help keep the launch platform at a safe distance, to evade defensive fire from the target area.

The DRDO has developed a number of state-of-the-art anti-tank missiles in the ‘Nag’ range. These include the Prospina, which is used by the infantry and has a range of up to 4km; the Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MPATGM), which can be launched from the shoulder; and the Helina (Helicopter based NAG) missiles, which are customised for a helicopter-led assault on the enemy’s tanks. The Nag is also a ‘fire and forget’ missile. SANT will be the main airborne anti-armour guided-missile for the ALH-Rudra and Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) fleet.

The induction of the latest SANT will be a welcome addition to the Indian military’s arsenal. Once its target is locked, the SANT destroys it by first penetrating the tank’s outer explosive reactive armour and then the missile’s main charge annihilates the vehicle’s inner armour. Developed for the IAF, it will have both Lock-on After Launch and Lock-on Before Launch capabilities.

The system has day and night all-weather capability. The successful test comes at a time of heightened border tensions with China, which has made unilateral attempts to occupy Indian territory along the disputed LAC over which Indian troops have historically had freedom of movement and patrolling.

Sources said all the mission objectives were met during trials of the SANT missile, in which a dummy target of a tank was destroyed and the missile has been successfully flight tested for different ranges including the maximum range capability in field firing range.

The missile is guided by an Infra-red Imaging Seeker (IIR) operating in the Lock on Before Launch mode. It is one of the most advanced anti-tank weapons in the world.