The Army on Tuesday inducted the first regiment of the indigenously-developed Akash surface-to-air missile system, capable of targeting a multitude of aerial threats up to a range of 25 km.
Akash has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and is being built by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). It was originally planned as part of the five missiles under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme initiated in 1984.
“The capability that we have with this system will ensure that it takes care of the vulnerability of our assets. Akash is a step towards self-realisation of indigenisation,” Army chief General Dalbir Singh said during a formal dedication ceremony.
Each regiment of Akash consists of six launchers with each launcher having three missiles. The Army had placed orders for two regiments worth about Rs. 19,000 crore.
An Air Force variant of Akash has already been inducted.
The Akash system can simultaneously engage multiple targets in all weather conditions and has a large operational envelope from a low altitude of 30 metres to a maximum of up to 20 km and can also engage Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in addition to helicopters and fighter planes. At 96 per cent indigenisation, it represents a major capability development for a crucial weapon system.
“Unlike the Air Force version, the Army variant of Akash is designed for high mobility and can be quickly moved to any operational theatres based on necessity,” V. Udaya Bhaskar, Chairman and Managing Director of BDL, told The Hindu .