You are here: Home » Current Affairs » News » National
Business Standard

Lighter, deadlier Gen Next Akash Missile flight-tested off Odisha coast

The missile will be offered for export; possibility of sales to east Asian and African countries

Topics
DRDO | Akash missile system | Defence ministry

Ajai Shukla  |  New Delhi 

DRDO missile testing
Photo: PIB

The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested the “New Generation Akash Missile” (Akash-NG) on Wednesday at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Balasore in Odisha.

“The flight trial was conducted at 12:45 PM from a land-based platform with all weapon system elements such as multifunction radar, command, control and communication system and launcher participating in deployment configuration,” announced the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the army already operate nine batteries of the old Akash missile. This is now being improved into the Akash-NG, which is engineered to shoot down extremely high-performing fighter aircraft — or high-manoeuvring, low radar cross-section aerial threats, as the IAF calls them.

Two key improvements to the current Akash missile have transformed it into the Akash-NG. The first is a brand new, two-pulse, solid rocket motor that replaces the old ramjet on the legacy Akash missile. The new motor not just reaches out to 30 kilometres (km), but also generates a high terminal velocity to strike even the fastest and most agile enemy fighters.

The second major change in the Akash-NG is its new seeker head, which has been developed by the laboratory, Research Centre Imarat (RCI). At the terminal phase of engagement, the seeker locks onto the enemy aircraft and continuously guides the Akash-NG to impact with the target.

chart

The phases of engagement are measured in seconds. The Akash-NG detects enemy fighters at ranges out to 80 km and initiates the launch sequ­ence. By the time the enemy aircraft is 50 km away, the Akash-NG’s computers have calculated the launch trajectory and impact point and launched the missile. In just over a minute, the missile blazes its way to the impact point 30 km away and destroys the target.

The Akash-NG rocket has been re-engineered comprehensively and brought down from the legacy Akash’s 700 kg to a sleek 350 kg. This not just increases range, but also lets the Akash-NG launcher and replenishment vehicle carry more missiles.

“Once deployed, the Akash-NG weapon system will prove to be a force multiplier for the air defence capability of the IAF,” stated the MoD.

The IAF earlier inducted seven units of the Akash missile, while the army has inducted two and has another two on order. Bharat Elect­ronics Limited builds the for the IAF, while Bharat Dynamics Limited is the prime integrator for the army.

The MoD earlier anno­unced that indigenisation levels in the Akash are above 96 per cent. The IAF has part-funded the development of the Akash-NG. The cost of the system would reduce, were foreign governments to buy the economically priced, hardy missile.

In December, the Union Cabinet approved exporting the and, in January, the missile was on display in the Republic Day parade. There is a possibility of sales to east Asian countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, that are wary of Chinese aggression. There is also interest from several African countries.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Wed, July 21 2021. 23:00 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.