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India eyes producing more Akash missiles, BEL expects windfall

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Defence major expects to bag contracts worth at least Rs 10,000 crore in the next few months from Indian Air Force and the army to produce several squadrons of system.

Bangalore-based BEL has already bagged a Rs 1,221 crore order from to produce two squadrons of the surface-to-air area defence guided missile system.

"They (IAF) are going to place another order for six squadrons shortly (in a month)," said P C Jain, general manager of BEL's military radar business unit.

BEL sources said the order for six squadrons of Akash missile system is estimated to be nearly Rs 3,500 crore.

They said each squadron consists of 48 missiles, a surveillance radar (3D central acquisition radar) and a tracking (flight level) radar and flight control centre, among others.

According to Jain, the Indian Army is "looking for the same (Akash missile) system", and BEL is expecting an order to produce two regiments for it.

The army is currently in the process of finalising the configuration it requires vis-a-vis the system.

"Each regiment is much bigger than a squadron, much, much bigger...May be five-six squadron is equivalent to one regiment," Jain said, indicating that the army order is expected to be Rs 6,000 crore-Rs 7,000 crore.

The surveillance radar used in the Akash missile system, a medium-range, multi-target surface-to-air defence system which provides air defence against multifarious threats to mobile, semi-mobile and static vulnerable forces and areas, has a range of 120 km and the tracking radar 80 km.

The surveillance and tracking radar can detect 100 targets and 64 targets simultaneously, respectively.

The missile system has a range of 25 km and "it can go up to an altitude of 18 km", Jain said. "It can engage four targets simultaneously. We can launch eight missiles simultaneously."

He also said the BEL has despatched the company- produced weapon location to Pokhran in Rajasthan for user trials by the army, from which it expects to bag order to deliver 50 such units.

Jain said BEL has delivered 1,400 Battle Field Surveillance Radars to the Indian Army, adding, the IAF is now looking to deploy such systems to monitor movement of manpower, jeeps and other small vehicles in its airfields.

BEL would shortly make a presentation to the IAF in this regard.

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