For the third time in five days,India today test-fired two surface-to-air anti-aircraft ‘Akash’ missiles from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur near here,achieving success in one while the data of the second trial was being analysed.
“Two Akash missiles were launched from the ITR. While one test was successful,data for the other is still being analysed,” ITR Director M V K V Prasad said over phone.
The double test-fire came after trials of the indigenous missile,with a range of 25 km and capable of carrying a warhead of 60 kg to neutralise aerial targets,on May 24 and 26.
“The flight trials were conducted in quick succession from road mobile launchers at launch pad-3 in the ITR at about 11.02 am,” defence sources said.
“Each missile was aimed at intercepting a floating object supported by a pilotless target aircraft at a definite altitude over the sea,” the sources said.
“It was a routine user trial conducted by the defence forces after completion of developmental test and induction into the defence armoury,” an official of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said.
After the launch,assessment was made with data retrived from telemetry stations and radars.
Akash,an anti-aircraft defence system,could simultaneously engage several targets with ‘Rajendra’ radar developed by Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE),a DRDO laboratory in Bangalore.
The radar carries out the surveillance,tracks the target,acquires it and guides the missile towards it.
Rajendra is a ‘passive phased array radar’. It is a multifunction radar,capable of tracking 64 targets and controlling up to 12 missiles simultaneously.
Defence experts have compared Akash missile with the American MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system.
Similar to MIM-104,Akash is capable of neutralising aerial targets like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs),fighter jets,cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles.
Development of Akash missile took place during 1990s under the country’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) and after many trials,it was inducted into the armed forces. The anti-aircraft missile is already part of the Army and the Air Force.