India today successfully test fired its indigenously developed surface-to-air ‘Akash’ missile of Air Force version from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur,the fifth trial of the anti-aircraft system in the last fortnight.
The Air Force version of Akash missile was test-fired from the ITR. The trial was successful and met all the mission objectives, a senior defence official said.
The anti-aircraft missile,with a strike range of 25 km and capable of carrying warhead of 60 kg,was test fired from a mobile launcher at launch complex-III of the ITR.
The trial,which formed part of the country’s routine air defence exercises,was conducted at 0757 hrs,an official of Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) associated with the Akash missile project said.
To re-validate the technology and operational efficacy of the missile,defence forces conducted the trial with logistic support provided by the ITR,the official said. The Akash weapon system,which has its Army version too,was inducted into the armed forces in 2008.
Today’s test-fire came after similar trials conducted from the same test range on May 24,26,28 and June 1. On June 1,two Air force version of Akash missiles had been test fired successfully in quick succession,the official said.
During the trial,the sophisticated missile was aimed at intercepting floating object supported by a pilotless target aircraft at a definite altitude over the sea, defence sources said.
Akash,an anti-aircraft defence system,can simultaneously engage several targets with ‘Rajendra’ radar developed by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE),a DRDO laboratory in Bangalore.
‘Rajendra’ does the surveillance,tracks the target,acquires it and guides the missile towards it.
The 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 DRDO has developed both the Air Force and Army versions of the Akash missile.
Rajendra is a ‘passive phased array radar’. It is a multifunction radar,capable of tracking as many as 64 targets and controlling up to 12 missiles simultaneously.
Defence experts have often compared Akash missile system with the American MIM 104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system.
They claim that similar to the MIM-104,the Akash is capable of neutralising aerial targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs),fighter jets,cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles.