Friday, December 21, 2007

Akash Production-Ready!?

The ten day Akash air defence exercise has been completed at the ITR in Orissa, with a string of five successful tests that began on December 11. Here's an MoD press release which indicates that with the end of this exercise, the Akash programme is complete, and the missile is ready for serial production!

Press Release:
The Akash Missile has successfully hit the bull's eye for the fifth time in a row in the last ten days at test range in Balasore. The fifth and last trial successfully took place at 2.15 pm today at Chandipur- on- sea. The missile destroyed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which was flying simulating the air attack. The target vanished from the radar screen when the missile was guided precisely in close proximity and the warhead blast occurred, much to the delight of users present in the flight campaign. This is the grand finale of the ten days users campaign meticulously planned by the Indian Air Force.

Akash is a mobile, mulitiple target handling, medium range Air Defence missile developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). The missile system has been configured to be part of futuristic network centric operations, most of the operations having been made automated. The entire weapon system has gone through functional evaluation in Kolar near Bangalore followed by operation and mobility trials in Pokharan ranges. The ECCM (Elctronic Counter Counter Measure) evaluation was carried out at Gwalior by Air Force against various types of electronic target and counter measures. The final phase of user evaluation as part of user trials was done in Chandipur. ITR, Balasore provides world's best instrumentation facilities. The flight was conducted under the leadership of Dr Panyam, Project Director. Dr Prahlada, who conceptualised Akash and now Chief Controller at DRDO HQ was present during campaign.

About 300 strong team was present for ten days campaign. Representatives from public sector BDL, BEL etc were also present.

Indian Air Force officials witnessed users trial. With the conclusion of Akash evaluation, the is now available for indigenous production in the country. The missile system is uniquely configured and customised for Indian Army and Air Force.

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