New Delhi: More than three decades after the project was initiated, Army today inducted the indigenously- developed supersonic surface-to-air missile Akash, capable of targeting enemy helicopters, aircraft and UAVs from a range of 25 kms.
The missiles, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will be a boost for the Army Air Defence Corps, which had been grappling for years with obsolete air defence weapons.
“The capability that we have with this system will ensure that it takes care of vulnerability of our assets. Akash is a step towards self-realisation of indigenisation,” Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag said while presiding over the formal dedication ceremony here.
He added that the Army was in the process of reinventing the command and control and battlefield management system of the Army Air Defence.
Akash Missile System is an indigenously developed supersonic short range surface-to-air missile system with the capability to engage a wide variety of aerial threats like aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles up to a maximum range of 25 km and up to an altitude of 20 km.
The system, which has 96 per cent indigenisation, is capable of simultaneously engaging multiple targets in all weather conditions and is capable of providing comprehensive short range missile cover to the vulnerable assets in the field force of the Army.
The Akash Weapon System, which will also be deployed facing the western borders, employs command to line of sight guidance and relies on sophisticated radars and control systems to guide the missile to its targets.
The Army has initially ordered two Akash regiments, with six firing batteries.
The total cost of the order which includes hundreds of missiles is about Rs 19,500 crore, defence sources said.
They said that the first full regiment should be ready by June-July and the second one by end of 2016.
IAF has already inducted its own version of the missile system.
“The Army version is movable and is mounted on vehicles unlike that of the IAF. This means that it can be moved quickly based on operational needs,” G Chandramouli, Project Director of Akash, told PTI.
Akash is one of the five core missile systems of the integrated guided missile development programme, launched by DRDO in 1984. .