Express News Service
BHUBANESWAR: The New Generation Akash (Akash-NG) surface-to-air missile was successfully flight-tested from a defence facility off the Odisha coast amid inclement weather conditions on Friday proving the all-weather capability of the weapon system.
The indigenously-developed missile system blasted off from a canisterised mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at about 11.45 am a few minutes after an unmanned aerial vehicle was flown. The missile searched, tracked, and successfully intercepted the high-speed unmanned aerial target.
Defence sources said the flight test of Akash-NG has validated the functioning of a complete weapon system consisting of the missile with indigenously developed radio frequency seeker, launcher, multi-function radar, and command, control, and communication system.
“The system performance was validated through the data captured by a number of radars, telemetry, and electro-optical tracking systems deployed by ITR. It demonstrated the high maneuverability required for neutralising fast and agile aerial threats. A team of Indian Air Force officers witnessed the test,” the sources said.
This was the second successful flight testing of Akash NG in a span of three days. Earlier on July 21, the missile was successfully flight-tested without the seeker meeting all the mission requirements. Three more rounds have been planned.
Designed and developed by DRDO, the Akash-NG system has been equipped with active electronically scanned array multi-function radar to search, track and fire control in one platform. It is capable of intercepting high manoeuvring low radar cross-section aerial targets.
While the earlier variant of Akash had a maximum strike range of 30 km, the new generation Akash has an operational range of 70 km and can defend an area 10 times better compared to any short-range surface-to-air missile and is capable of engaging up to 10 targets simultaneously.
Unlike its earlier version, Akash-NG uses a two-pulse solid rocket motor that gives it a longer range and the ability to generate a high terminal velocity.
Akash is India’s first indigenously designed, developed, and produced air defence system and the cheapest surface-to-air missile ever produced in the world with supersonic interception speed.
DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy said the performance of the entire weapon system was flawless and the mission was a copybook success. The missile will be deployed after a few more developmental tests, he added.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has congratulated DRDO, the Indian Air Force, and Industry. He said the development of the state-of-the-art missile system will prove to be a force multiplier for the air defence capabilities of the Indian Air Force.