The successful test-firing of the Indian-made Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) in Odisha on Friday, February 21, 2014, has the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) brimming with confidence that it would be quickly inducted into the Indian Army.
A senior official said the Air Force has got one version of Akash, but the Army is yet to follow suit. According to senior officials, the Defence Acquisition Council has already given the nod for a combined order of Akash missiles for IAF and Army.
"There might be a few more tests, but from our side, Akash is ready for induction and production," said a DRDO official. The Hyderabad-based lab of DRDO, the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), is among the major contributors towards development of Akash.
Akash is an all-weather area air defence weapon system for defending vulnerable areas against medium range air targets penetrating from low, medium and high altitudes. The system is designed to neutralize multiple aerial targets attacking from several directions simultaneously. The system is autonomous and its operation is fully automated. The system is configured to be cross country mobile on tracked armoured vehicle for the Army or road mobile on Tatra truck chassis.
The Akash supersonic surface to air missile has a range of about 25 km and carries a 55 kg fragmentation warhead that is triggered by proximity fuze. The missile uses state-of-art integral ram jet rocket propulsion system and the onboard digital autopilot ensures stability and control. The missile has all the way command guidance for full range of operation.
Several development flight tests were conducted during 2005, 2006 in which the Akash missile successfully intercepted flying targets consistently at different altitudes and ranges. The tests included simultaneous launch of two missiles from two launchers against two targets using the same fire control radar and fire control center. All the flight tests were conducted at the missile flight test range ITR, Chandipur.