Indian Army advances towards ‘Atma-nirbharta’ with Nagastra-1 loiter munition

Following a successful Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) conducted from May 20-25, EEL delivered the initial batch of 120 units to the ammunition depot in Pulgaon

In a significant step towards the path of achieving ‘atma nirbharta’ (self-reliance) in ammunition and defence systems, the Indian Army is preparing to introduce its first indigenous loiter munition, Nagastra-1. Developed by Solar Industries in Nagpur, the Army has placed an order with Economics Explosives Ltd (EEL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Solar Industries, for the supply of 480 loiter munitions.

Following a successful Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) conducted from May 20-25, EEL delivered the initial batch of 120 units to the ammunition depot in Pulgaon. Nagastra-1 is designed to operate in “kamikaze mode,” effectively for neutralising hostile targets with GPS-enabled precision strikes with an accuracy of up to two metres. Weighing 9 kg, this man-portable, fixed-wing electric UAV has a flight endurance of 30 minutes. It offers a range of 15 km with man-in-loop control, which extends to 30 km in autonomous mode.

Nagastra-1 operates with a low acoustic signature, due to the electric propulsion system, making it nearly undetectable at altitudes over 200 metres. The UAV contains both day and night surveillance cameras and carries a 1 kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead capable of neutralising soft-skin targets. Unique features such as the ability to abort missions, recover, and reuse, and the parachute recovery mechanism, distinguish it from similar systems worldwide.

Image Source: SP’s Land Forces

With over 75% indigenous content, Nagastra-1 was developed in collaboration with Z-Motion Autonomous Systems Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru. This man-portable system has an weight of 30 kg, distributed across two rucksacks, including a ground control station, communication controls, payload, and a pneumatic launcher.

The Military Potential of Nagastra-1

The success of Nagastra-1 highlights the potential of drone technology in military operations, as demonstrated in recent conflicts in countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Ukraine. In India, there has been an increase in drone-related incidents along its northern borders, making it the necessity for such indigenous solutions.

The expertise for weaponized drones in combat applications is still developing in India. Solar Industries has initiated the development of various weaponized drones, and Nagastra-1’s successful creation marks just the beginning of this. This advancement is expected to significantly enhance India’s capability to deploy UAVs as effective war machinery.

Nagastra-1’s marks a major milestone in India’s journey toward self-reliance in defence technology. By incorporating a high percentage of indigenous components, the project supports local industries and ensures that critical technology remains within the country. This level of self-reliance reduces dependency on foreign suppliers, strengthening national security and giving room to innovation within the Indian defence sector.

The capabilities of Nagastra-1 are tailored to meet the specific needs of the Indian Army. Its precision and low detectability make it a valuable asset in various combat scenarios, providing the Indian Army with a versatile and effective tool for neutralising threats. The ability to operate both manually and autonomously offers flexibility in deployment, ensuring that Nagastra-1 can adapt to a wide range of mission requirements.

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