AKASH MISSILE SYSTEM
AKASH MISSILE SYSTEM
- Akash(in Sanskrit ‘sky’) is a medium range surface-to-air missile (SAM) developed as part of India’s IGMDP to achieve self-sufficiency in the area of surface-to-air missiles. It is the most expensive missile project ever undertaken by the Union government in the 20th century.
- It has an intercept range of 30 km. It has a launch weight of 720 kg, a diameter of 35 cm and a length of 5.8 metres. Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching around Mach 2.5. It can reach an altitude of 18 km. A self-destruct device is also integrated. It is propelled by a solid fuelled booster stage. AKASH MISSILE SYSTEM
- The missile has a terminal guidance system capable of working through electronic countermeasures. The entire Akash SAM system allows for attacking multiple targets.
- The Akash missile’s use of ramjet propulsion system allows it to maintain its speed without deceleration, unlike the US counterpart called Patriot missiles.
- The missile is supported by multi-target and multi-function phased array fire control radar called the ‘Rajendra’ with a range of about 80 km in search, and 60 km in terms of engagement.
- The missile is completely guided by the Radar, without any active guidance of its own. This allows it greater capability against jamming as the aircraft self protection jammer would have to work against the high power Rajendra, and the aircraft being attacked is not alerted by any terminal seeker on the Akash itself. AKASH MISSILE SYSTEM
- The Akash system meant for the Army uses the T-72 tank chassis for its launcher and radar vehicles. The Rajendra derivative for the Army is called the Battery Level Radar-Ill. The Air Force version uses an Ashok Leyland truck platform to tow the missile launcher, while the Radar is on a BMP-2 chassis and is called the Battery Level Radar-II.
- In either case, the launchers carry three ready-to-fire Akash missiles each. The launchers are automated, autonomous and networked to a command post and the guidance radar. The Akash system can be deployed by rail, road or air. The first test flight of Akash missile was conducted in 1990, with development flights up to March 1997.
- In December 2007, Indian Air Force completed user trials for the Akash missile system. The trials, which were spread over ten days, were successful and the missile hit its target on all five occasions.
- Before the ten day trial at Chandipur, the Akash system’s ECCM Evaluation tests were carried out at Gwalior Air force base while mobility trials for the system vehicles were carried out at Pokhran. AKASH MISSILE SYSTEM
- In February 2010, the Indian Air Force ordered six more squadrons of the Akash system, taking orders to eight of the type. The Indian Army is also expected to order the Akash system.