In a perfect launch of the same missile for second day in a row, India today successfully test fired indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash missile as part of a user trial from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha. The missile with a strike range of 25 km and capability to carry warhead of 60 kg, was test fired for the second consecutive day at about 2 pm.
Recently, two Akash missiles from the production lot of the Air Force version of Akash missile system had been test fired in two separated tests in modes on 26 April, successfully intercepting the fast moving incoming and receding maneuvering targets respectively, towed by Lakshya pilot less target aircraft. The complete Akash missile system including target system were operated by Indian Air Force personnel exploiting the overall capabilities of system in different envelops.
Two Squadrons of Akash missile system developed by DRDO have been already inducted into the IAF and the system is in continuous production and induction.
All the stated mission objectives have been met and the missile system has performed as expected. It is a notable achievement that the entire equipment of sophisticated radars, control centres, launchers & ground support systems for the IAF have been realised and produced in less than 2 years, demonstrating the integrated capability of DRDO, DDP, Inspection agency MSQAA and the Indian defence industry. A path has been created for continuous production of sophisticated surface to air missile systems in the country through this programme. The engineers, scientists and technicians who worked for this remarkable challenge set by the services can demonstrate the performance of the system on production variants, too.
The IAF had placed an order for 8 squadrons of the Akash missile system. Later, the Indian Army placed an order for 2 regiments of the system. The total production orders placed by the Services (IAF and Indian Army) for the system amounts approximately to Rs 23,000 crore. Already, missile system worth Rs 3500 crore has been delivered to the Services. In addition, 3D-Central Acquisition Radar (3D-CARs), which is an offshoot from Akash missile system, is in continuous production and induction to all the three Services.
Akash is a mobile, multi-directional, multi-target point/area defence system thatcan simultaneously engage several air targets in a fully autonomous mode of operation. The hardware and software integration of various weapon system elements permits automated management of air defence functions such as programmable surveillance, target detection, target acquisition, tracking, identification, threat evaluation, prioritisation, assignment and engagement. All the radars, command control centres andlaunchers are integrated to achieve these functions. The system is designed to enable integration with other air defence command and control networks through secure communication links. The system is also provided with advanced ECCM features at various levels. The weapon system is cost-effective with resect to comparable systems in the global market.
The system is modular and mobile with all its components, including launchers, capable of being mounted on wheeled trucks or trailers. Good lateral acceleration capability of the missile till intercept provides high manoeuverability and capability against high performance air targets, such as tactical strike aircraft, bombers, high altitude reconnaissance airplanes and armed helicopters. Equipped with multi-function phased array radar with tracking, utilising the modern electronic technology, the system has significant resistance to many kinds of active and passive jamming. All air defence functions such as classification, threat evaluation, prioritisation and missile launch are automated, thanks to the state of the art computation platforms and softwares. The system is configurable to adapt to future requirement.
The system is under production at the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bengaluru, for 8 squadrons for the IAF. Besides, 2 regiments of the Army version are under production at the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad, for the Indian Army. Missiles and missile-related equipment are produced by the BDL. Radars and radar-related equipment for both the IAF and IA are produced by the BEL. Thirteen DRDO laboratories, 19 public sector units, 5 ordnance factories and more than 200 small, medium and a few large-scale private industries have actively participated in the development and production of the Akash weapon system.