India To Test Akash SAM Missile Defence System This Week

Accord­ing to the Indi­an armed forces, the Akash sur­face-to-air mis­sile will be test­ed this Sun­day, from the Inte­grat­ed Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, Oris­sa.

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The mis­sile, which was first induct­ed in to the Indi­an Armed Forces in 2008, under­went sev­er­al tests lat­er, as tech­ni­cal issues and flaws were dis­cov­ered lat­er. Dur­ing the test, which is esti­mat­ed to take place this Sun­day, a Pilot-less Tar­get Air­craft (PTA) will be inter­cept­ed and destroyed by the mis­sile launched from a wheeled plat­form.

The Akash mis­sile is capa­ble of destroy­ing air­crafts which are 20 miles away, with alti­tude up to 60,000 feet. The mis­sile can be fit­ted with nuclear war­heads and is capa­ble of car­ry­ing a con­ven­tion­al war­head of up to 60 kg. The mis­sile was devel­oped by the Defence Research and Devel­op­ment Organ­i­sa­tion (DRDO) and joint­ly man­u­fac­tured by the Bharat Elec­tron­ics Lim­it­ed and the Bharat Dynam­ics Lim­it­ed. The devel­op­ment of the mis­sile was done as a part of the Inte­grat­ed Guid­ed Mis­sile Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme (IGMDP). There are two ver­sions of the Akash mis­sile avail­able, one each for the Indi­an Air Force (IAF) and the Indi­an Army.

The Akash mis­siles are sup­port­ed by indige­nous­ly devel­oped pas­sive phased array radar “Rajen­dra”. The radar was also devel­oped by the DRDO. The Rajen­dra is a mul­ti­func­tion radar, capa­ble of track­ing as many as 64 tar­gets and con­trol­ling up to 12 mis­siles simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. Indi­an defence experts have drawn com­par­isons for the Akash mis­sile sys­tem with the Amer­i­can MIM-104 Patri­ot sur­face-to-air mis­sile sys­tem. Indi­ans claim that sim­i­lar to the MIM-104, the Akash is capa­ble of neu­tral­iz­ing aer­i­al tar­gets such as Unmanned Aer­i­al Vehi­cles (UAVs), fight­er jets, cruise mis­siles and air-to-sur­face mis­siles.

Ravi Kumar Gup­ta, senior DRDO offi­cial dis­missed the fears about the tech­ni­cal snags in Akash, say­ing that all the recent tests of the mis­sile have been suc­cess­ful. He said that the lat­est test will help the armed forces to analyse the effec­tive­ness and capa­bil­i­ty of the mis­sile. The Indi­an Army, which is con­duct­ing the mis­sile test this week, plans to induct two Akash reg­i­ments (con­tain­ing approx­i­mate­ly two thou­sand mis­siles) to replace its anti­quat­ed Russ­ian 2K12 Kub (SA-6) mis­siles.

The IAF is plan­ning to induct a total of 1,000 Akash mis­siles in 8 squadrons, which will increase its defence capa­bil­i­ties. Accord­ing to Indi­an offi­cials, the The Isayev S-125 Pecho­ra sur­face-to-air mis­sile, which the IAF is cur­rent­ly using, will be phased out in favour of the Akash mis­sile. The induc­tion of the mis­siles is esti­mat­ed to cost the Indi­an Armed Forces some INR 233 bil­lion.

Source:
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