India on Thursday successfully test fired its indigenously-developed surface-to-air ‘Akash’ missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, about 15 km from Balasore, Orissa. To re-validate the technology and operational efficacy of the missile, defence forces conducted the trial with logistic support provided by the ITR.
The Akash weapon system was inducted into the armed forces in 2008. The missile, which has a strike range of 25 km with a warhead of 60 kgs, was test fired from a mobile launcher from launch complex—III of the ITR at about 1108 hours, defence sources said.
“During the trial, the missile was aimed at intercepting a floating object supported by a pilotless target aircraft, flown from launch complex—II, at a definite altitude over the sea,” the 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.
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 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.