Source : Indian Defence Analysis
Indian Army inducts Nagastra-1 first indigenously designed & developed Loitering Munition developed by EEL
The Loitering munition are proving to be more lethal than Armed UAVs or UCAVs because of multiple reasons:
A. They are much cheaper when compared to UAVs and can be acquired and produced at faster rate.
B. Due to their very small size their detection is very difficult. In on-going Russia Ukraine war, we have seen the Russian Lancet loitering munition destroying even the UK’s super expensive Stormer HVM (High Velocity Missile) equipped with Starstreak missile. Recently, A Ukrainian 9K33 OSA-AKM Low-altitude, Short-range Air Defense System was reportedly destroyed been destroyed by Russian Lancet loitering munition.
Indian Army has therefore ramped up its inventory of Loitering Munition which we have been tracking from 2021 onwards.
It all started with Skystriker LM from Elbit Systems of Israel. Indian Army has procured more than 100 units of SkyStriker worth Rs 100 crore. SkyStriker is a fully autonomous UAS which can locate, acquire and strike operator-designated targets with a 5kg warhead installed inside the fuselage, enabling high-precision performance.
It can reach a target area located 20 km away within 10 minutes. It has dual seeker with day & night capability. The UAS’ electric propulsion offers a minimal acoustic signature, allowing covert operations at low altitude operations. It can also carry armour piercing munition to destroys tanks. It has 360 degree attack capability. The UAS has endurance of upto 2hrs & has autonoumus navigation during cruising & loitering phase. It can track the targets in both day & night using its high quality camera and it can abort its mission at last moment if needed. The best part is it can be recovered and safely landed and reused later.
Warmate Loitering Munition by Polish firm WB Electronics
The Indian Army has also procured 100s of polish Warmate UAV loitering munitions. The WARMATE constitutes a good alternative for anti-tank guided missiles with its capability to operate in a significantly larger radius, allowing comfortable detection and observation of the potential target. Optionally the system can be equipped with a laser-seeking warhead. It can carry a Thermobaric or High Explosive type warhead. It has Operational range of 30km and speed of 80kmph. The WARMATE in combat configuration is an expendable solution. In the observation configuration the UAV can be recovered and reused. The WARMATE is a fully autonomous solution allowing real-time operation of airborne warfare, using the video feed received from its surveillance subsystem.
Nagastra Series by Explosives Economic Limited (EEL), subsidiary of Solar Industries
On the sidelines of Army Commanders’ Conference 2023, Niche Technology and Innovation Display organised by the Indian Army in Delhi where the indigenously developed Loiter Munition was put on display. The LM is Nagastra-1 by Solar Industries which has been procured by Indian Army under the emergency procurement process. This is the first indigenously designed and developed loitering munition inducted by Indian Army.
#WATCH | “This equipment is first time indigenously developed in India, Loiter Munition system. It provides the capability of a long-range surveillance system of up to 15 km as well as precision hitting capability of a target area,” says Major Lohit Batham.
The System’s name is… pic.twitter.com/PUQGis8msO
— ANI (@ANI) April 19, 2023
Solar Industries has launched its Nagastra series of loitering munitions, namely: Nagastra1, Nagastra2 and Nagastra3.
The Nagastra 1 has more than 80% indigenous content and can carry 1.5kg warhead to a range of 15km. It has endurance of 60 minutes with accuracy of less than 2m. It can be launched with hand and ground based launcher. The target details can be feed manually or it can also be automatically acquired. It can destroy a target area of 10mX10m of radius. It has overall weight of 20kg.
Indian Army has also tested Nagastra2 & Nagastra3 in Ladakh in March 2022.
Nagastra 2 is a Tube or a catapult launched Loiter Munition (LM-1) that can deliver a 4 kg explosive warhead up to a range up to 25 km. It will be a man-portable system (in backpacks) with a total all-up-weight of only 20 kg which includes communication control, payload and launch mechanisms.
Nagastra 3 is a Vehicle mounted tube / cassette launched Loiter Munition (LM-2) that can carry 5-10 kg warheads to a range of 40-100km. This will be a rugged and mobile system where in six LM, launcher, generator, UPS, and other support equipment can be accommodated in a 1 T class of vehicle. This variant can be gainfully utilized by the Operational Commanders to shape the battlefield and can be a game changer.
Indian Army is also evaluating ALS 50 from TASL, Trinetra loitering munitions developed by Z Motion and PALM-400 by Avision IgMp