BALASORE: In a significant milestone, indigenously developed supersonic surface-to-air missile Akash on Thursday achieved direct-hit successfully destroying aerial target ‘Banshee’ flown from a defence base off the Odisha coast. This missile was test fired for the fourth consecutive day.
Defence sources said the medium range nuclear capable sleek missile was fired from the launching complex-III of the Chandipur-based Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 12.35 pm nearly 15 minutes after the aerial target Banshee was flown from the launching complex-II of the same test facility.
“The missile successfully intercepted the unmanned fast moving aerial vehicle Banshee Jet 80 at nearly 35 meter altitude above sea level proving the system’s capability against subsonic cruise missile, which travelled around 20 km. Significantly, the missile had a direct hit. On Wednesday the missile too had successfully destroyed the aerial target,” the source said.
This flight trial was fifth one during the on-going five-day validation trials being carried out on the first off production models of Akash supersonic missile. Last trial of the series is likely to be conducted on Friday.
Banshee Jet 80 is an aerial target for surface-to-air and air-to air weapon systems. The aircraft is designed to float for overwater operations recovery. Developed from the successful British made Banshee target, which continues as the workhorse of choice to meet the world’s air defence training requirements, this new, twin jet engine version has been produced using knowledge and experience gained whilst operating the single jet engine variant which entered service in 2010.
This latest version is fitted with twin, 40-Kg thrust gas turbine engines giving a total of 80-kg of static thrust. This offers an increase in the maximum straight and level airspeed of up to 180 metres/second.
Length of the target vehicle is about 2.80 meters to 2.98 meters, wingspan 2.49 meters and height 0.78 meter. It weighs around 80 kg. Travelling at a maximum speed of 180 km/h, it can fly nearly 45 minutes with a service ceiling of 8,000 meter. This aerial target, considered as best in the world in its class, has been inducted in the Indian army and navy. At least 44 countries are using this vehicle as target, the source informed.
Notably, Akash mobile air defence weapon system has been designed, developed and led to production by DRDO for defending and protecting the important assets of the country from penetrating aerial attacks. Having a strike range of 25 kms, it can fly at supersonic speed of around 2.5 Mach and can reach an altitude of 18 kms.
The 5.8-metre-long missile has a launch weight of 720 kg and can carry a warhead of 50 kg. This anti-aircraft weapon system has the capability to target aircraft and is packed with a battery that can track and attack several targets simultaneously.
With its capability to destroy aerial targets including fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles, the Akash system can be comparable with the similar weapons of many other advanced countries. In fact, compared to the US-made Patriot, the Akash has better features. It is totally mobile and can be launched from a battle tank. The missile has thrust during its entire flight and the propulsion works till it hit the target, the sources added.
The sophisticated missile, which uses an integral ramjet rocket propulsion system, has low reaction time and it operates in conjunction with the indigenously built Surveillance and Engagement Radar, which is capable of tracking 64 targets and guiding up to 12 missiles simultaneously.
THE BANSHEE AERIAL TARGET
- Banshee target is suitable for use on land and at sea
- Suitable for use against surface-to-air and air-to-air weapon systems.
- Target performance and enhancement easily varied with plug-in modules
- Target airframe and enhancements proven worldwide
- Wing span - 2.49 metres
- Length - 2.80 to 2.98 metres
- Height - 0.78 metres
- Travels at a maximum speed of 180 km/h
- Can fly nearly 45 minutes with a ceiling of 8,000 meter
THE AKASH SYSTEM
Strike Range – 25 km
Weight – 720 kg
Length – 5.78 meters
Diameter – 35 cm
Speed – Mach 2.5
Warhead – High-explosive
Warhead weight – 60 kg
Flight ceiling – 18 km