The Akash Surface to Air Missile (SAM),a 30-km range missile,was a major attraction at the Open Day organised ahead of the 81st anniversary of IAF on October 8. The missile is being inducted at the Indian Air Force station in Lohegaon.
Group Captain A Bhadra,Chief Operation Officer of 2 Wing Air Force Station,Lohegaon,said that the procedure of induction of the SAM is expected to be completed within a month or two. The fully indigenous missile system is expected to replace the existing Russian Pechora SAM system. The IAF station is the second to get this cover after Gwalior. The Akash squadron in Pune has been named Vajra.
The AD system is intended for area defence of the Akash weapon system and is meant for the defence of high value vulnerable points against low-level threats. Bhadra said,The electronic systems of Akash need to be integrated and are located at different locations. They need to be linked by cable. The HQ (of the system) is located at one point while the flights are located at other points. That (integration) work is going on and is likely to take some time.
The integration of Akash SAM system has been done by DRDL,Hyderabad. Three DRDO laboratories in the city too have contributed to the development of the missile. While the launcher has been developed by the Research and Development Establishment (R&DE) in Dighi,the warhead has been developed by the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE). The High Energy Materials Research Laboratory developed the propellant. The all-terrain weapon system can simultaneously engage several air targets in fully automated operations mode.
The missile system underwent user trials in 2007 and the IAF had placed an order for eight Akash Missile Squadrons,the second of which is inducted in the city after Gwalior. The system will also be deployed at forward air bases in the Northeast.