For the first time in history, India test-fired two indigenously developed surface-to-air anti-aircraft ‘Akash’ missiles from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha.
The double test-fire was carried out after trials of the missile, with a range of 25 km. It was capable of carrying a warhead of 60 kg to neutralise aerial targets, on May 24 and 26.
The flight trial of the missiles was conducted one after the other in quick succession from road mobile launchers at launch pad-3 in the ITR at about 1102 hours. At the time of the trial, the missiles were aimed at intercepting a floating object supported by a pilotless target aircraft flown from launch complex-II at a definite altitude over the sea.
Rajendra is a ‘passive phased array radar’. It is a multifunction radar, capable of tracking 64 targets and controlling up to 12 missiles simultaneously.
Defence experts have compared Akash missile system with the American MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system.
They claim that similar to the MIM-104, the Akash is capable of neutralising aerial targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles.
The development of Akash missile took place during 1990s under the country s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) and after many trials, it was inducted into the armed forces. The anti-aircraft missile is already part of the Army and the Air-force.