Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) signed a contract worth INR 499 crore ($67 million) to provide Akash missiles to the Indian Air Force (IAF). A formal contract was signed by the Indian Ministry of Defence and BDL on July 8. In December 2007, the Indian Air Force completed user trials for this missile. The trials, which were spread over ten days, were declared successful after the missile hit the target on five occasions. Multiple targets handling capability of Akash weapon system was demonstrated by live firing in C4I environment.
The Indian Air force was satisfied with the performance of Akash after extensive flight trials and has decided to induct the weapon system. An order for two squadrons were placed initially, with these being inducted in 2009. The IAF found the missile performance to be satisfactory and was expected to place orders for 16 more launchers to form two more squadrons for India’s northeast theater. On 3 December 2020, the Indian Air Force carried out 10 missile firing at Suryalanka to bolster its capability among ongoing Indo-Sino border tension.
Akash (Sky”) is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). Surveillance and Fire control radar, tactical control and command center and missile launcher are developed by Bharat Electronics (BEL), Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division and Larsen & Toubro. It is in operational service with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. The Indian military’s combined orders of the Akash have a total worth of ₹28,800 crore (US$4 billion).
The Akash missile system can target aircraft up to 50–80 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m. It has the capability to neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles as well as ballistic missiles. It has a launch weight of 720 kg, a diameter of 35 cm and a length of 5.78 meters. Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching around Mach 2.5. The Akash, like the Russian 2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainful), utilizes an integrated ramjet-rocket propulsion system provides sustained thrust for the missile throughout its flight until interception.