India on 19 August 2018 successfully test-fired its indigenously developed HeliNa anti-tank missile at the Pokhran Range in Rajasthan. The HeliNa stands for Helicopter-launched Nag and is a variant of the land-launched Nag anti-tank guided missile. 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 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 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. 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.
Anti-tank guided missiles are designed to destroy or debilitate tanks and armoured vehicles. The Nag, the hand-operated system from which HeliNa is derived, is also undergoing trials and is yet to be inducted into the Indian Army. The weapon system has been in development since the 1980s.