Akash missile Current Affairs - 2019

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AKASH-1S Missile: test fired by DRDO

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired Akash-1S surface to air defence missile system from Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Balasore off the Odisha coast. This is the second successive successful missile test by DRDO in last two days.

About Akash-1S

Background:

  • The Akash missile is a medium range multi-target engagement capable missile that was developed as part of Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). Other missiles under IGDMP are Nag, Agni, Trishul, and Prithvi missiles. The missile system was formally inducted into the Army on May 2015 and in the IAF on July 2015. Later in September 2015 the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared seven additional squadrons of the Akash missile for IAF.
  • After a 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report stated that 30% of these missiles failed when tested and in 2017 itself the Army too agreed that missiles did not meet its operational requirements because of their higher reaction time.

Features

  • It is a supersonic surface to air missile with multi-target engagement capability.
  • Akash-1S is an upgrade version of existing Akash missile fitted with an indigenously developed seeker.
  • The new Akash weapon system has combination of both command guidance and active terminal seeker guidance.
  • Range: The missile has a range of about 25 km and altitude range of 18,000 metres (18km).
  • It is capable of neutralizing advanced aerial targets and in striking down enemy fighter jets and drones effectively.
  • Missile system uses: high-energy solid propellant for booster and ramjet-rocket propulsion for sustainer phase thus is said to be highly mobile.
  • Variants: include Akash MK1, Akash-MK2. They have improved accuracy and higher ranges are under development by the DRDO.

Way Forward

  • India taking certain steps to slowly fill the holes in its air defence elements such as by developing advanced surface-to-air missile called ‘Medium Range Surface to Air Missile’ (MRSAM) in collaboration with Israel.
  • Besides MRSAM, India is also procuring five regiments of renowned S-400 air defence system from Russia whose delivery will begin in 2020.

EXERCISE VAYU SHAKTI-2019

A mega exercise, EXERCISE VAYU SHAKTI-2019 involving 140 fighter jets and attack helicopters, in a firepower demonstration was held close to the border with Pakistan at Pokhran in Rajasthan.

Indian Airforce Strength at Display

The mega exercise, EXERCISE VAYU SHAKTI-2019 displayed the might of the Indian Airforce:

  • The IAF showcased firepower capability of indigenously-developed platforms like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and efficacy of Akash surface-to-air missile and Astra air-to-air missile.
  • For the first time, the ALH and the Akash were deployed in a military exercise.
  • A total of 137 aircraft including Sukhoi-30s, Mirage 2000s, Jaguars, Mig-21 Bison, Mig-27, Mig-29, IL78, Hercules and AN-32 aircraft participated in this mega exercise.

Vayu Shakti  and Gagan Shakti

Vayu Shakti and Gagan Shakti are two important exercises held by Indian Airforce. Exercise Vayu Shakti demonstrtaes the IAF’s ability to strike targets on the ground such as enemy convoys and tanks, radar stations, railway yards and military headquarters. The other important dimension of air power, air-to-air combat is out into display at another exercise of IAF called Gagan Shakti.