Two surface-to-air Akash missiles were test-fired in a quick succession from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, off the Odisha coast on Monday with one of them failing to hit the target and falling into the sea.

Both the post-production tests were carried out as part of regular user exercises by Indian Air Force personnel in which the missiles were fired from road mobile launchers.

In the first test conducted at around 10.30 a.m, the indigenously-developed missile veered off its flight path within a few seconds of its launch after reaching a height of a few hundred metres. The details for its failure would be analysed to find out the exact cause, official sources told The Hindu.

In the second trial, the 5.8 metre long missile and its ground system worked perfectly and met all the mission objectives which included interception of the target and a “pitch-up manoeuvre”.

The live warhead of the missile was disabled as it was close to interception of the target, a flying Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA), ‘Lakshya, apparently to ensure that the latter was not destroyed. About 45 seconds later the missile moved to a higher altitude and the warhead self-destructed itself as pre-programmed.

The purpose of second mission was to ensure that the missile moved to a higher altitude and the warhead self-destructed itself in case it missed the target instead of falling nearby the launch area in a real war scenario.

Earlier during two separate trials last week, Akash missile failed to hit the target on Saturday, while it homed on to ‘Lakshya’ successfully on May 24.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IDMDP), the medium range Akash surface air-to-missile has been already inducted into the Army and Air Force. With a strike range of 27 km, the missile can carry a 60 kg warhead and simultaneously engage several targets with ‘Rajendra’ radar developed by the Bharat Electronics and Radar Development Establishment.

Two more tests would be conducted later this week as part of revalidating the operational efficacy of the missile.

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