Helina is an ATGM system mounted on the ALH. Credit: DRDO/commons.wikimedia.org.
The Helina missile system is made for the Indian Army. Credit: Ministry of Defence/commons.wikimedia.org.
The Helina ATGM system operates within distances ranging from between 500m and 7,000m. Credit: Ministry of Defence/Press Information Bureau, Government of India.
The Helina ATGM system employs an IIR seeker featuring LOBL capability for guidance. Credit: Ministry of Defence/Press Information Bureau, Government of India.

Helina is a third-generation, fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system designed to operate on the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), a Government of India agency, this air-to-surface missile system is designed for the Indian Army.

It is the helicopter-based version of the Nag Anti-Tank Guided Missile. The air force variant of the missile is named Dhruvastra.

Validation trials of the Helina ATGM conducted at Pokhran in Rajasthan in April 2022, showcased its high-altitude efficacy, leading to its integration into the ALH.

The Helina missile system was exhibited during India’s 75th Republic Day Parade in January 2024.

Helina ATGM design and features

The Helina ATGM system measures 1.94m in length, 150mm in diameter, and weighs 44kg.

It can cover distances ranging between 500m and 7,000m and is guided by an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker with lock-on before launch capability.

The system is equipped for day and night operations in all weather conditions, capable of neutralising battle tanks equipped with both conventional armour and explosive reactive armour.

Helina missile systems are outfitted with two twin launchers, one on each side, capable of carrying a total of eight missiles.

Flight tests of Helina ATGM

In August 2018, a successful flight test of the Helina ATGM was conducted from an Indian Army helicopter within the Pokhran ranges. The entire range of the weapon system was tested.

The Helina weapon system smoothly released from its launch platform, tracking the target throughout its trajectory and striking it with high precision.

The telemetry stations, tracking systems, and helicopters monitored all parameters of the missile system.

Joint user trials of air-to-surface missile system

Joint user trials for the Helina and Dhruvastra missile systems were carried out from the ALH platform in February 2021.

Five missions were conducted to evaluate the capabilities of the missile systems at both minimum and maximum ranges.

The missiles were launched in both hover and maximum forward flight modes, targeting realistic stationary and moving objects.

Certain operations involved deploying warheads against derelict tanks.

Another mission was executed targeting a mobile object from a forward-flying helicopter.

Helina ATGM user validation trials

In April 2022, the Helina ATGM was launched from a helicopter and successfully flight-tested at high-altitude ranges during user validation trials.

The missile was successfully launched from ALH during the flight trials, effectively hitting a simulated tank target.

During the same month, the Helina ATGM underwent another successful flight test from the ALH as part of the continuous user validation trials.

The flight test covered various ranges and altitudes and the missile successfully engaged a simulated tank target according to plan.

The successful flight test confirmed the consistent performance of the entire system, including the IIR seeker, paving the way for the induction of the Helina into the Armed Forces.

The tests were jointly conducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army teams, in collaboration with the DRDO.

Orders and deliveries

In January 2023, three defence proposals worth Rs42.76bn ($519.7m) were approved including two for the Indian Army and one for the Indian Navy. The approval includes the purchase of Helina ATGMs, launchers, and support equipment for integration with the ADH.

The missile will play a crucial role in the weaponisation of the ALH to counter enemy threats and enhance the offensive capabilities of the Indian Army.