Akash missile system 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.

DAC approves procurement of upgraded Akash missile system

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman given approval to Indian Army for inducting upgraded variant of indigenously developed Akash short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) system. Under this proposal two new two regiments of this missile systems will be procured under ‘Buy (Indian)’ category from Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). Indian Army already has inducted two Akash regiments. Induction of upgraded variants will increase total count to four regiments.

Akash Missile

It is short-range mobile surface-to-air missile indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme initiated in 1984. It is made by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

It has range of 25 km and can engage multiple targets at time in all-weather conditions. It has capability to neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles as well as ballistic missiles.

It has large operational envelope, from 30 metre to maximum of 20 km. Each regiment of this missile system consists of six launchers, each having three missiles. It is in operational service with Indian Army and  Indian Air Force.

Upgraded Akash Missile System

The upgraded Akash Missile System will include seeker technology, possess 360 degree coverage and will be of compact configuration with reduced signature. The upgraded Akash Weapon System is operationally critical equipment which will provide protection to vital assets.