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India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation Test-fires Akash-NG Surface-to-air Missile

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India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation Test-fires Akash-NG Surface-to-air Missile

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India's Defence Research and Development Organisation Test-fires Akash-NG Surface-to-air Missile
India's Defence Research and Development Organisation Test-fires Akash-NG Surface-to-air Missile

The India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently conducted a successful test-firing of the new-generation Akash (Akash-NG) surface-to-air missile (SAM). The Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, situated off the northeastern coast of Odisha, served as the testing ground for this advanced missile system. During the flight test, the Akash-NG was pitted against a high-speed unmanned aerial target flying at a very low altitude. Impressively, the weapon system not only intercepted the target but also validated the seamless functioning of the complete system. The components included the missile equipped with an indigenously developed radio frequency (RF) seeker, a canisterized launcher, a multifunction radar, and a command, control, and communication system.

Akash-NG, an abbreviation for “Akash” meaning “Sky” in IAST, represents a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile defense system developed by DRDO. Produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited and Bharat Electronics, with the active involvement of private firm Electropneumatics and Hydraulics India, this missile marks a significant advancement over its predecessors, the Akash and Akash-1S series. The improvements include a Dual-pulse solid rocket motor, a canisterized launcher, and an AESA Multifunction targeting radar, enhancing its probability of kill while minimizing ground operations and logistics requirements. The missile’s Ku-band Active radar seeker, unveiled during Aero India 2021, contributes to its advanced capabilities.

The DRDO conducted a successful flight test of the new-generation missile from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha, in mid-January. (Indian Ministry of Defence)
The The India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation conducted a successful flight test of the new-generation missile from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha, in mid-January. (Photo by Indian Ministry of Defence)

Approved for development in September 2016 with a funding of 470 crore, Akash-NG boasts better deployability, thanks to its canisterized launcher and reduced ground system footprint. The second stage’s dual-pulse solid rocket motor not only improves reaction time but also offers heightened protection against saturation attacks. With a range of 70 km and the ability to operate at elevations ranging from 20° to 70°, Akash-NG showcases an impressive azimuth of 360°. Its swift reload capability, with two canister missile stacks taking only 10 minutes, further enhances its operational efficiency. The system’s rapid response time allows for firing a single missile within 10 seconds of target acquisition, while a salvo of three missiles can be launched in just 20 seconds. Remarkably, the deployment time from transportation to a ready-to-fire mode is less than 20 minutes.

The validation process involved comprehensive data capture from a variety of sources, including radars, telemetry, and electro-optical tracking systems strategically deployed at the ITR. The successful flight test not only underscores the efficacy of the Akash-NG but also paves the way for forthcoming user trials. The successful test-firing of the Akash-NG reaffirms India’s commitment to advancing its indigenous defense capabilities, ushering in a new era of air defense preparedness. As the missile progresses towards user trials, its cutting-edge features are poised to elevate India’s standing in the realm of modern air defense systems.

India's Defence Research and Development Organisation Test-fires Akash-NG Surface-to-air Missile
The India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation successfully tested the Akash-NG in flight against a fast-moving unmanned aerial vehicle at a very low altitude. The successful intercept and destruction of the target validated the functioning of the entire weapon system. Akash-NG is now ready for user trials.. (Photo by Indian Ministry of Defence)

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