On 25th January 2021, the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted the first test of ‘Akash-Next Generation’ (Akash-NG) from a defence facility off Odisha coast, the missile was launched from a mobile platform positioned at the Launching Complex – III of the Integrated Test Range at about 2.30 pm against an electronic target. The launch met all the test objectives by performing high maneuvers during the trajectory. During the test launch, entire flight path of the missile was monitored and the flight data was captured by various Range instruments such as Radar, EOTS and Telemetry systems deployed by ITR, Chandipur.
Akash (Sky) is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile defense system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for Missile Systems, Bharat Electronics (BEL), Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division and Larsen & Toubro for other radars, control centers, launcher systems in India. It has the capability to neutralize aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles. An Akash battery comprises a single Rajendra 3D passive electronically scanned array radar and four launchers with three missiles each, all of which are interlinked. Each battery can track up to 64 targets and attack up to 12 of them.
Akash-NG is a new generation Surface-to-Air Missile meant for use by the Indian Air Force with an aim of intercepting high maneuvering aerial threats. The Akash-NG system has been developed with better deployability compared to other similar systems with canisterized launcher and much smaller ground system footprint. The test launch was carried out by a combined team of DRDO, BDL & BEL in the presence of the representatives of Indian Airforce. The existing Akash missile has a range of 25 km, while the upgraded variant (NG) can strike targets at a distance of 30 km. The system provides air defence missile coverage for an area of 2,000 km².
The development of the Akash-NG (Next Generation) was approved in September 2016 with a funding of ₹470 crore (equivalent to ₹544 crore or US$76 million in 2019). Akash-NG will have an improved reaction time and higher level of protection against saturation attacks. The second stage will use dual-pulse solid rocket motor which is lighter instead of air-breathing solid ramjet engine to increase the overall range from current 40 km to greater than 80 km, an active electronically scanned array Multi-Function Radar (MFR) and optical proximity fuze. Akash-NG missile has been designed to strike low radar cross-section aerial targets.