NEW DELHI: After a wait of over three decades, the Army on Tuesday inducted the indigenously developed supersonic surface-to-air missile Akash, capable of targeting enemy helicopters, other aircraft and UAVs from a 25-km range.
The missiles, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, will boost the strength of the Army Air Defence Corps, which had for years depended on obsolete weapons.
“The capability that we have with this system will ensure that it takes care of the vulnerability of our assets,” Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag said while presiding over the dedication ceremony here.
He added that the armed forces were in the process of reinventing the Army Air Defence Corps’ command and control and battlefield management system.
The system, which is 96 per cent indigenous, is capable of simultaneously engaging multiple targets in all weather conditions and is capable of providing comprehensive short-range missile cover to the vulnerable assets in the Army’s field force.
The Akash weapon system, which will be deployed along the country’s Western borders, employs command-to-line-of-sight guidance and relies on sophisticated radar and control systems to guide the missile to its targets.
The Army has initially ordered two Akash Regiments with six firing batteries. The total cost of the order, which covers hundreds of missiles is about Rs 19,500 crore, defence sources said. They said the first full regiment should be ready by June-July and the second by 2016- end.
‘Don’t Clap after Speeches’
Taking a cue from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag on Tuesday directed his officers and others not to clap after speeches by individuals.
“After I finish my address please do not clap. Hereafter, we will maintain the decorum of not clapping in uniform,” Gen Suhag said, when the audience gave him a round of applause following his address. Gen Suhag also referred to Parrikar, who speaking at the Commanders’ conference last month, had said the people in uniform shouldn’t clap after addresses by individuals.