9M113M Konkurs-M (NATO: AT-5B Spandrel B) anti-tank guided missile (ATGM)
9M113M Konkurs-M (NATO: AT-5B Spandrel B) anti-tank guided missile (ATGM)

Indian Army Upgrades Konkurs-M ATGM with Sarisa Longwave Infrared Thermal Imager

The Indian Army recently updated its 9K111M Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) with Tonbo Imaging’s Sarisa cooled, longwave Infrared (LWIR) thermal imagers. Sarisa comes with mounting brackets for installation in front of the optical channel of the Konkurs-M ATGM launcher. Sarisa is a thermal imaging camera that detects, recognizes, and identifies dangers at vast distances during the day, night, and in poor weather conditions. Before launching the missile, it can lock onto a stationary or moving target. It is deployed as a clip-on with built-in collimated optics, allowing the user to engage with the targets using the same sight channel of direct-view optics as the Konkurs launcher. The thermal imager is designed in accordance with MIL-STD-810G and MIL-STD-461F standards.

The 9M113 Konkurs (Contest; NATO reporting name AT-5 Spandrel) is a SACLOS wire-guided anti-tank missile developed by the Soviet Union. The 9M113 Konkurs can use the same launchers and looks remarkably similar, with just a tiny bulge towards the end of the Konkurs’ missile tube distinguishing it. The missile is intended to be launched from tracked/wheeled vehicles, but it may also be launched from later types of 9M111 launchers. The launcher tracks the position of an incandescent infrared bulb on the back of the missile relative to the target and transmits appropriate commands to the missile via a thin wire that trails behind the missile. The operator can then take manual control, reducing the missile to MCLOS. The SACLOS guidance system has many benefits over MCLOS.

Sarisa Longwave Infrared Thermal Imager. (Photo by Tonbo Imaging)

The Konkurs-M system was developed by then TsKB-14 (now KBP Instrument Design Bureau) situated in Tula, Russia. A development of the 9M113 Konkurs with greater firepower, 9M113M Konkurs-M (NATO: AT-5B Spandrel B) Tandem warhead – with extended explosive probe. The Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system is designed to engage modern tanks fitted with ERA, light armored vehicles, fortifications and engineer structures at ranges of 75 to 4,000 meters, day or night. The 9K111-1M Konkurs-M was developed to counter explosive reactive armour (ERA)protected targets. The 9M113M Konkurs-M system consists of The 9P135M1 ground launch system (GLS) and the 9M113M missile. Owing to its launcher design, the system can be installed on a variety of wheeled and tracked platforms.

On February 3, 2022, Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and Indian Army signed a contract worth Rs 3,131.82 crore to manufacture and supply Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles. The missile can be launched either from Indian Army BMP-2 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle or from ground launcher. Konkurs-M is being manufactured by BDL under a license agreement with a Russian OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). The guided missile has been indigenized upto maximum extent. BDL is also offering Konkurs-M missile for export to friendly foreign countries. The company said it is laying a lot of thrust on indigenization of its products manufactured under transfer of technology with foreign OEMs.