Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel on Tuesday conducted a user trial of surface-to-air sophisticated missile Akash from a defence base off the Odisha coast. The missile targeted at Mirage aircraft reportedly failed to deliver the desired results.
Defence sources said the indigenously developed missile was test fired from the launching complex - III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea. The missile was to hit the Italian aircraft Mirage, flown prior to the weapon’s launch in a simulated coordination.
While DRDO officials claimed that the missile met all mission parameters, sources at the test range told this paper that the missile failed to destroy the target due to delay in take off. “There was a slight disturbance in simulation following a few seconds delay in take off for which the missile failed to hit the target,” the source informed.
The test was aimed at gauging the flight consistency and effectiveness of the missile. The complete Akash missile system including targets was operated by IAF personnel exploiting the overall capabilities of system in different envelops. The missile has been already inducted into IAF and the system is in continuous production and induction.
As reported by ‘The Express’ earlier, the Akash system has a problem with its radar since long for which the Army had been denying to induct it in the forces for years. The launcher did not get required command in time to fire the missile leading to delay in take off in a couple of occasions in the past.
The missile has a range of 25 km to 30 km and an effective ceiling of 18 km. Fuelled by solid propellants, the weapon can fly at supersonic speed of around 2.5 Mach. The 5.8 metre long sleek missile has a launch weight of 720 kg and can carry a warhead of 50 kg.
Akash missile system has a passive phased array radar, which is capable of tracking 64 targets and controlling upto 12 missiles simultaneously. As claimed by the DRDO, it can be used to counter ballistic and cruise missiles, enemy aircraft and air-to-surface missiles.