Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in New Delhi to deliver its Akash surface-to-air missile systems to seven more squadrons of the Indian Air Force at a cost of Rs 5,357 crore over the next three years.

  • The company has supplied the medium-range missile defense system to six Air Force squadrons in 2015-16.
STATIC About Akash missile Akash Surface to Air Missile
  • The Akash Missile is a medium-range Surface to Air Missile with multitarget engagement capability.
  • It was developed under the integrated guided-missile development program (IGMDP).
  • Development of Akash missile began in
  • The test-firing of the Akash for the IAF was carried out at the ITR at Chandipur in December 2007.
  • Two versions of the missile are being built for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army.
  • The first batch of the Akash missiles was inducted by the Indian Army in May 2015.
  • The first Akash missile was delivered to the IAF in March 2012.
  • The missile was formally inducted into the IAF in July 2015.
  • In May 2012, the Indian Air Force successfully test-fired the Akash missile from the integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur, Orissa,
  • The missile has since been successfully test-fired in ripple mode against a floating object launched by a pilotless target aircraft in May 2014.
Features of the mid-range surface-to-air missile system
  • The Akash SAM system can destroy multiple air targets while operating in fully autonomous mode.
  • The system consists of a launcher, a missile, a control center, an integral mission guidance system, a multifunctional fire control radar, a system arming and explosion mechanism, a digital autopilot, C4I (command, control, communication, and intelligence) centers and supporting ground equipment.
  • Each Akash battery includes four 3D passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radars and four self-propelled launchers with three missiles each, all of which are interconnected.
  • It also has a battery level radar known as Rajendra, as well as a battery control center.
  • It can track and attack multiple targets together.
  • A self-destructive device is also integrated into the missile.
  • Akash has also been tested in a ballistic missile role and offers air defense missile coverage of 2,000km².
  • Akash missiles are designed to be launched from both static or mobile platforms thus providing flexible deployment.
  • It can handle multiple targets and destroy moving targets, including unmanned aerial vehicles, fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and missiles launched from helicopters.
  • The missile is capable of destroying aircraft within the range from 30km to 35km and up to altitudes of 18,000m.
  • It provides both multidirectional and multi-target area defense.
  • It can carry conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 60kg.
  • The integration of nuclear warhead allows the missile to destroy aircraft and warheads released from ballistic missiles.
  • It can operate in all weather conditions.
  • The Akash is powered by Ramjet-rocket propulsion system which renders thrust for the missile to intercept the target at supersonic speed without any retardation.
  • Akash can fly at supersonic speeds ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.5.
  • The kill probability of the missile is 88% and can be increased to 5% by launching the second missile after five seconds of launching the first.
  • The Akash SAM system was produced by Bharat Electronics (BEL).
Why Indian needs the Akas missile?
  • The technology is still in development mode and the current Akash will inevitably birth a more capable version. Already, the DRDO is developing a seeker head that will make the Akash more accurate and capable of longer ranges.
  • Development of Akash missile provides employment to India which is a key aim of the Make in India program.
  • Buying indigenous products creates a multiplier effect at many levels of our economy, whereas buying a system from abroad puts the money into another economy all together.
  • Every company involved in defense production, every employee, is paying direct and indirect taxes into the economy.
  • Lastly, facilitating the development of defense systems in India leads to the creation of strategic intellectual property.
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