Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation on Monday successfully tested Stand-off Anti Tank Missile (SANT), an extended range variant of HELINA air-launched guided missile.
The missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) situated in Chandipur, Odisha. A new active radar homing seeker is demonstrated with the test, along with Lock On After Launch (LOAL) mode. It has a range up to 15-20 km, allowing the launch platform (primarily rotary-wing aircraft) to engage hostile armor and main battle tanks at Beyond Visual Ranges (BVR).
It is based on HELIcopter-launched NAg (HELINA) missile, also known as “Dhruvastra”, an indigenously developed air-to-surface anti-tank guided missile. It is developed to be launched from attack/assault helicopters like ALH “Rudra”, Mi-35 “Hind”, Light Combat Helicopter, and possibly in future, the AH-64E Guardian. It has a range upto 7-8 km and already test-fired from Rudra and LCH.
HELINA/Dhruvastra and SANT are equipped with an active radar homing seeker with both Lock On After Launch (LOAL) and Lock On Before Launch (LOBL) modes. With 8 kgs of Tandem – charge HEAT warhead capacity, it is capable of penetrating 900 mm of Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA).
According to a senior official, one more test is scheduled and will be conducted in the coming days that will further demonstrate the capability of the SANT missile. The missile test is also the recent addition to the series of missile tests being carried out by India for the past few weeks. India already commenced 12 weapon firing tests since September with BrahMos test carried out a day ago.
The tests are being conducted amid standoff with China at Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. The recent scuffles between Indian and Chinese troops at the border resulted in worsening political relations between New Delhi and Beijing, and in order to maintain battle preparedness, both nations are carrying out military drills and weapon testings.
Will SANT also arm the future Indian armed drones (UCAVs) and ground attack aircraft? Only time will tell.