India’s Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) in Hyderabad has reportedly completed all trials of the locally developed helicopter-launched Nag anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), Helina. Helina has completed the process for issuing of Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) by the Indian Army has started. The request for proposal (RFP) will be issued post the AON issuance. Some firing trials will be done from the first production lot by the Army at a later stage. The launcher and missile are ready. There is some human-machine interface (HMI) to be realised, which are going on now.
HELINA (Helicopter-launched Nag) is air-launched version of the Nag with extended range. It is launched from twin-tube stub wing-mounted launchers on board HAL Rudra helicopters and HAL Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It is structurally different from Nag and is guided by an infrared imaging seeker (IIR) operating in the lock-on-before-launch mode for target engagement. The first ground launch of the missile to check lock-on after launch (LOAL) capability were conducted in 2011 during which the missile was locked onto a target and launched.
This demonstrated the capability of the missile to lock onto and hit a target while in mid-flight. In the ground-launched LOAL test, the missile was launched in the general direction of the target. On approaching the target, images of the area ahead were sent from the missile to the operator via a two-way, radio frequency, command-video data link. The operator identified the target in the images and updated the new target location into the seeker, after which the missile homed in on the target and destroyed it. It supports both top attack and direct attack functionality.
On 19 August 2018, HELINA was successfully test-fired from a HAL LCH at the Pokhran test range. DRDO and the Indian Army tested HELINA with a range of 7–8 km from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha. On 19 February 2021, Army variant HELINA and Air Force version Dhruvastra have successfully demonstrated their capabilities in a series of multi-mission user trials from HAL Rudra and is ready for induction into the Indian Armed Forces. HELINA completed all kind of user trials as of 20 September 2021. The Indian Army is ready for the missile acquisition which is expected to cost under ?1 crore. The initial demand is of 500 missiles and 40 launching tubes.