BALASORE: Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel for the first time successfully test fired surface-to-air nuclear capable supersonic missile Akash in ripple mode from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast on Wednesday.
Defence sources said three Akash missiles were launched from the test range at Chandipur on tow body released from Lakshya pilot-less target aircraft (PTA) moving at 'low altitude far boundary'. The missiles successfully intercepted the fast moving and maneuvering small targets within small interval of five seconds in ripple mode.
While the DRDO provided all logistic supports, IAF teams operated the deliverable Akash missile system including targets. The missiles were successfully guided by multi-function phased array radar developed by Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), a DRDO Lab and produced by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile and it can reach targets 25 km away. The 5.8-metre-long sleek missile has a launch weight of 720 kg and can carry a warhead of 50 kg. It is a mobile multi-directional, multi-target point / area defence system which can simultaneously engage several air targets in a fully autonomous mode of operation.
The hardware and software integration of the weapon system elements permits automated management of air defence functions such as programmable surveillance, target detection, target acquisition, tracking, identification, threat evaluation, prioritization, assignment and engagement.
A defence official said all the radars, command control centers and launchers are integrated to achieve these functionalities. 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 features at various levels.
The missile has been developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) along with 13 other DRDO Laboratories and produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited. Its launcher is developed by R&DE (Engrs), a DRDO lab and produced by Tata Power and L&T.
Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri (SA to RM) Avinash Chander congratulated all the teams from DRDO, production agencies and IAF for successfully organizing the event and fulfilling the mission objectives of the evaluation tests on deliverable equipment.
He also stated that various industries across the country were engaged in production of Akash subsystems of military grade/aerospace quality systems and had emerged successfully in meeting the stringent requirements.
Two squadrons of Akash missile system have been already inducted in to IAF and the system is in continuous production and induction. IAF had placed order for eight squadrons of Akash missile system. Later, Indian Army placed an order for two regiments of Akash missile system.
The total production orders placed by both the services (IAF and Indian Army) for Akash missile system approximately amounts to Rs 23,000 Crore. Already missile systems worth Rs 3500 Crore were delivered to the services.
The weapon system is cost effective relative to equivalent systems in the global market.