The Indian Air Force on Saturday successfully test-fired two Akash, the ground-to-air missiles, which hit their targets flying 25 km away. While one missile tore apart an incoming target towed by Lakshya, a pilotless target aircraft (PTA), another took apart a receding target, again trailed by Lakshya. The IAF personnel operated the entire Akash system including the targets. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed Akash, which is already under production for the IAF and the Army.
Akash Project Director, G. Chandramouli of the DRDO, said the missiles intercepted their targets at high altitudes and when they were travelling fast. “We destroyed both the targets. The second one was a far-boundary, receding target and so difficult to intercept”, he said. On April 23 also, the IAF had successfully test-fired an Akash. All the trials took place from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha.
Mr. Chandramouli called it “a notable achievement” that the entire equipment of radars, launchers, ground support systems and control centres for the Akash missile system for the IAF were realised and produced in less than two years, indicating the integrated capability of the DRDO, the Department of Defence Production, the Missile System Quality Assurance Agency and the Indian industry.
Avinash Chander, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, congratulated the teams from the DRDO, the IAF, the production agencies and the industries for the coordinated demonstration. S. Som, Director, Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad, S. Ravind, Director, Electronics and Radar Development Establishment, Bangalore and M.V.K.V. Prasad, Director, ITR, witnessed the flights from Chandipur.
Ravi Gupta, DRDO spokesman, called the Akash project “a great success story.” The IAF had placed orders for eight squadrons of the Akash missile system. The Army has placed orders for two regiments of the system. “The total production orders placed by the IAF and the Army for the Akash missile system is about Rs.23,000 crores. Already, the missile system worth Rs.3,500 crores have been delivered to the Services,” Mr. Gupta said.