India has successfully test-fired its indigenously developed HeliNa anti-tank missile at the Pokhran Range in Rajasthan. The name HeliNa stands for Helicopter-launched Nag, and is a variant of the land-launched Nag anti-tank guided missile.
According to a statement, ‘The weapon system has been tested for its full range. The ‘HELINA’ weapon system released smoothly from the launch platform has tracked the target all through its course and hit the target with high precision. All the parameters have been monitored by the telemetry stations, tracking systems and the Helicopters’.
The HeliNa is designed to be launched from the helicopters operated by the Indian Army Aviation Corps. It has been designed to be launched from the HAL Light Combat Helicopter, the HAL Dhruv and its armed variant, HAL Rudra.
The Nag missile, and subsequently HeliNa, are ‘fire-and-forget’ missiles. That means once locked on to a target before their launch, they have onboard systems that would help track the target’s movements and make changes to their trajectory to ensure a hit.
While Sunday’s tests of the HeliNa were for the ‘lock-before-launch’ function, the Nag is also capable of being programmed for a different target after it has been launched towards a previously locked-on target.
Nag and HeliNa are top-attack missiles, meaning they will fly over the target and make contact from above. This is an especially key functionality for anti-tank weapons, considering most tanks and armoured vehicles are heavily armoured on all sides, and feature relatively shielding on their tops