NASM-SR: India’s first indigenous helicopter launched Anti-Ship missile

The Indian Navy on 18 May successfully tested the first indigenously developed NASM-SR air-launched anti-ship missile from Sea king helicopter.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Navy successfully recently conducted the maiden flight-test of the indigenously-developed Naval anti-ship missile NASM-SR launched from Sea king helicopter at Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur.

“The missile followed the desired sea skimming trajectory and reached the designated target with high degree of accuracy, validating the control, guidance and mission algorithms,” DRDO said. All the sub-systems performed satisfactorily and the sensors deployed across the test range and near impact point tracked the missile trajectory and captured all the events, it stated.

 Naval Anti-Ship Missile  (NASM-SR) during Aero India 2021
Naval Anti-Ship Missile (NASM-SR) during Aero India 2021

The test was carried out from a Seaking-42B helicopter. The missile employed many new technologies, including an indigenously developed launcher for the helicopter, and the missile guidance system includes a state-of-the-art navigation system and integrated avionics, according to DRDO. The mission met all its objectives, it said.

After this India becomes few countries that can develop an helicopter launch anti-ship missile.

The NASM-SR is part of a new family of weapons that form a fresh phase in the country’s missile program, that include the Rudra air-to-surface weapon, the Short Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) that’s soon to be tested from HAL’s Hawk-i and the Next Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGARM).

NASM-SR specification
NASM-SR specification

The specifications of the missile displayed at Defence Expo 2020 reveal that it has a range of 55 kilometres. The missile is capable of travelling at a subsonic (slower than the speed of sound) speed of 0.8 Mach, the specifications reveal. Weighing 380 kilogram, the missile has a 100-kilogram warhead. It can be used to target “ships and patrol boats”.

The missile has a length of 3600mm / 11.8 Feet  and diameter of 300mm / 0.98 Feet. While it takes 130 Secs to reach 35 km and 200 Secs for 55 km. For Navigation it use Midcourse Inertial Navigation & Altimeter, Terminal IIR-Seeker.

It has a cruise altitude of 15 metres in midcourse and 5 metres in the terminal phase of its flight. In a statement, the Defence Ministry said that the missile followed a sea-skimming trajectory, which is the practice of flying low, close to the surface of the water, in order to avoid detection.

While the specifications list only the Sea King helicopter as the launch platform for the new missile, it may also be integrated with the MH-60R helos that will join the Indian Navy over the next few years.

It can be fired from the shore at a ship in the sea. It can strategically target main areas of a large ship and make it dysfunctional.

The NASM-SR emerges as a future option at a time when the Indian Navy is also looking at anti-ship weapons fits for its future multirole helicopter fleets that will replace its Sea Kings. These include MBDA’s 25-km range Sea Venom and the over 100-km range Marte ER. The DRDO’s NASM revealed at the DefExpo show is specifically designated ‘SR’, confirming that a longer range version will also be pursued. Sources indicate this could be a weapon system with ranged in excess of 150-km.

The Indian Navy is also in the market for new medium range anti-ship missiles (MRAShM) for 24 current and future warships — three Delhi-class destroyers, four Kora-class missile corvettes and the six new Next Generation Missile Vessels (NGMV) that will enter service in the next decade. The other anti-ship missiles currently in service with the Indian Navy are Boeing Harpoon Block IIIs on the P-8I Poseidon fleet.

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