India test-fired Friday, February 21, 2014, the indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash missile from the Integrated Test Range launch complex at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha. DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organisation) of India officials described the Akash launch on Friday as “highly successful” and said it was a user-trial done by the Army.
"Akash was test fired from launch complex-3 at 11.22 am," a defence official said, adding that "some more trials would be conducted within the next couple of days".
"During the trial, the missile was aimed at intercepting a floating object supported by a pilot-less target aircraft, flown from launch complex-II, at a definite altitude over the sea," according to a source.
The last trial was conducted on June 6, 2012 from the same base.
Akash, the medium range anti-aircraft defence system, was developed indigenously as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme and has been inducted into the Army and the Air Force. Equipped with an integrated ramjet rock propulsion system, it has a 25-30-km strike range and can carry a warhead of 60 kgs. The missile launch unit is supported by the Rajendra radar system, which can simultaneously track 64 targets. It can target fighter-aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters and cruise missiles.
Eight missiles can be launched simultaneously on four targets. Akash has high manoeuvrability, capable of zeroing in on fighter aircraft, in both approach and receding modes. Each system comprises the missile, the launcher, the ground system and the radar.
The advantages of Akash are that it thrusts all the way to intercept the enemy aircraft; it can engage multiple targets; it can be transported by rail, road and air; and it boasts of C4I, that is, command, control, communication and computers, and intelligence.
In June 2012, two Akash surface-to-air missiles destroyed fast-moving aerial targets over the Bay of Bengal. The missiles was fired from road mobile launchers as part of the post-induction validation trials by the Air Force, hit the fast-moving tow bodies of Pilotless Target Aircraft Lakshya.