The first ATM

In 1959, when India was setting up Special Weapons Development Team (SWDT), parallel to it, a study on feasibility study project on a First Generation Anti Tank Missile (ATM) was proposed at a budget cost of Rs. 6 lakhs. Preliminary studies commenced and wind testing was to be done with the help of Department of Aeronautics and Institute of Science, Bangalore.

The aerodynamic design of the configuration was completed and full scale model of the complete configuration for the wind tunnel testing at IISc Bangalore was initiated. A full set of force and momentum tests were completed in Bangalore on this model, during 1961. These tests were conducted with vibrating spoilers to determine control effectiveness. The ATM was suppose to have a subsonic flight speed of about 250-300 fps.

ATM Preliminary Design

Preliminary ATM Configuration

The first GSQR

In view of upgrading this project a General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) was floated. The entire system was reworked in 1963 for accommodating HEAT 106 mm warhead.

The SWDT moved to Defence research and Development laboratory (DRDL), Hydrabad and the work commenced from there. In 1963-64, a Low-speed pilot tunnel had been built in DRDL. Flow visualization studies were undertaken in this on wing panels, to evolve suitable box design for the spoilers in 1964-65. Stability studies were conducted in 1965-66. In 1966, the facility was used to study roll characteristics of the configuration and to finalise the roll device required.

ATM explain

Mr. S Krishnan (scientist) explaining to Senior Officers


The propulsion motor requirement and the propulsion system design were done by DRDL. Explosives Research & Development Laboratory (ERDL) was tasked to make the propellant compositions and the development of propulsion grains (SUK black). Molybdenum inserts were used as sustainer. The motor body was made of aluminum alloy. Had 2 compartments, one for sustainer and the other for booster. The booster grain had star type hole for very fast burn and the sustainer was cigarette burning type for constant thrust.

Control & Guidance

The main components of the ATM control and guidance were the actuator and gyroscope. The team produced spoiler type actuator (similar to Mosquito ATM) which gave a response of 10 Mz with a stay time varying from 80-20 and 20-80 mili seconds. A three degree freedom gyro was also developed.


A training simulator was made. This simulator could be adapted to similar weapons too.

Fourteen out of sixteen

The high watermark of the project was firing demonstration conducted before Gen Bewoor, then Dy Chief of Army Staff. On that occasion a total of 16 missiles were fired and 14 hit the target.


First Generation ATM

Around the same time two teams of Army Men, who had been given training on European ATM’s, Cobra and Entac, were given the opportunity of carrying out the trials on indigenous ATM. The two teams did not find any significant difference between firing the ATM in comparison to European ATM’s.

The ATM still had to be worked upon, mostly in the inhibition of the sustainer motor, which held the reliability order of 65%.

ATM Short Closed

Army again revised GSQR which led to purchase and license production of SS11B1.