Indian-made Akash air defense missiles for UAE

An UAE defense delegation recently visited India. The `Made in India’ Akash surface-to-air missile system (SAM) was high on the agenda. Sources confirmed to FE Online that the delegation led by UAE Minister of State for Defense Affairs, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi Al Falacy, is keen on buying this missile which has been indigenously made by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), as reported by Huna Siddiqui. The missile is totally Indian-made, manufactured by PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL). If a sale comes true, it will be the first time ever that India would have exported a system like this to a Gulf country.

Indian made Akash air defense missile system for UAE United Emirates 925 001 
Akash air defense system battery displayed at DSCI 2017 in London (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The Akash is a medium-range, surface-to-air defense missile (SAM) system designed and manufuactured by India's state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It has a range of 30 km. The Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching around Mach 2.5. It can reach an altitude of 18 km. The development of the Akash missile system started in 1983 with a first production in 2002. The first trial firings took place in 1990. The missile system was developed on the basis of the Soviet 2K12 (NATO code: SA-6 Gainful) surface-to-air missile. In May 2012, the Indian Air Force successfully test-fired Akash from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Orissa, India. The missile has since been successfully test-fired in ripple mode against a floating object launched by a pilotless target aircraft in May 2014. In February 2015, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), announced the mass production of Akash Missile System (AMS) for the Indian Army. In March 2015, the Indian Army confirmed that the Akash missile system would enter in service with the Indian armed forces.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has already inducted the Israeli-made Rafael Spyder missile along with the home-made Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) with a range of 25 km as part of a strategic planning for a double layer approach to defend critical assets and locations in the country. The Spyder is intended to neutralise hostile targets up to 15 km away and at heights between 20 and 9,000 metres.

The UAE MoD might be interested in the DRDO-developed Astra 70-kilometer range air-to-air missile too to be fitted on the Mirage fighter planes that it is operating.


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