After 20 years, the DRDO announces the Akash Air Defence Weapon System

January 8th, 2008 - 7:52 pm ICT by admin  

By Pankaj Yadav
New Delhi, Jan 8 (ANI): The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today announced that it is ready with its low-volume, low-weight, — around 700 kg launch weight– surface to air missile system Akash for the Indian Air Force (IAF), which can travel at a speed of 25 km in 35 seconds and can easily hit supersonic targets, including aircraft of the F-16 class.A file-photo of F-16

Originally the missile was to be produced in 12 years, but it took two decades before the DRDO was ready with the missile. It is now waiting for orders from the IAF and the Indian Army.

Admitting the delay, distinguished scientist and Chief Controller, R and D (SI), DRDO, Dr. Prahlad, said here today that the infrastructure that has been built up for the missile is such that , in future, it wont take more than five to seven years to produce or develop any missile.

Elaborating on the missiles details, Dr Prahlad told media persons here today that the DRDO had the capacity of producing 40 missiles annually, and that this could be raised to 100 missiles a year if the need arose.

India had rejected the US offer of the PAC-3, Israel’s offer of the Arrow-2, Russia’s offer of the latest S-300 and S-400 and the European MBDA offer of the Aster 30 air defence system, as it was developing an indigenous system.

According to Dr Prahlad, the Akash operates in conjunction with the indigenous Rajendra Surveillance and Engagement Radar. It uses state of the art integral Ramjet Rocket Propulsion System to give a low-volume, low-weight missile configuration, and has a low reaction time (from detection to launch) of 15 seconds allowing the missile to carry a 55 kg fragmentation warhead triggered by Proximity Fuse.

He further said the missiles radar system is capable of tracking 64 targets and can guide upto 12 missiles simultaneously in a fully autonomous mode of operation.

The DRDO’s Chief Controller further told media persons that the missile could work perfectly in different weather conditions. It has been tested under harsh climate conditions, varying from 55 degrees Celsius in Rajasthan to intense rainy conditions and rugged terrains.

The missile can be deployed either in autonomous mode or in group mode. In the autonomous mode, it will have a single battery functioning independently. For surveillance, it would need an additional two-dimensional radar. In this mode, it can be used for defending moving columns or singular installations. A single battery can simultaneously engage four targets, and against each target a maximum of three missiles can be fired, thus increasing the hit probability.

The weapon system is a major milestone for the DRDO and its industry partners, and is being seen as a step towards India indigenously developing more complex air defence weapons in future.

The DRDO is expected to receive orders for at least 1,350 missiles from the Army and another 3,000 from the Air Force. (ANI)

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