Akash Missile

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 30, 2022, 8:58

The DRDO began developing the Akash Missile System in the late 1980s under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. The first systems and field tests and target neutralisation trials took place in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force use the Akash air defence system in combat and air defence operations.

Background and Significance Akash Missile

  • Akash is India's first indigenously engineered Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile designed to offer air defence protection to sensitive regions. It was named after the original Sanskrit term for sky or space.
  • The extensive Akash Missile range allows it to hit warplanes up to 30 kilometres afar and at altitudes of 18,000 metres.
  • It comprises an indigenously developed radar that identifies oncoming aircraft at a distance of up to 120 kilometres and transmits the data to a command station. The Akash air defence system can neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles, air-to-surface missiles, and ballistic missiles.
  • In group mode or autonomous mode, the Akash weapon system can engage numerous targets at once.
  • It contains built-in Electronic Counter-Counter Measures (ECCM) features. It equips the missile system with technologies that can counteract electronic systems that trick detection techniques.
  • Over 250 industries are engaged with the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for the development and supply of various military and aerospace-grade quality subsystems, components, and ground systems of the Akash Missile.
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Akash Missile System Development and Variants

  • Mark I- Tested in 2005, these missiles were capable of intercepting fast-moving objects in simultaneous engagement mode.
  • Akash-1S- Tested in May 2019, this missile supports the use of both command and active terminal seeker guidance to improve single-shot kill probability and is designed for downing fighter aircraft and drones from a range of 18 to 30 kilometres.
  • Akash Prime- Tested in September 2021, the missile has an upgraded active radio-frequency (RF) seeker to improve accuracy and is also tuned for low temperature and high altitude missions with a revamped ground system.
  • Akash-NG- This missile is anticipated to enter service in 2023 and will have a swifter reaction time and a higher level of defence against saturation attacks.

The Akash Missile system is bound to get more powerful, versatile, and accurate for longer ranges as technology advances.

Manufacturing the Akash Missile in India creates jobs, which is a crucial goal of the "Make in India" programme. Also, the procurement of Akash by several Indian defence divisions will have a compounding impact on numerous segments of our economy since promoting the development of defence systems in India creates strategic intellectual property.

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FAQs on Akash Missile

Q.1. When was the first Akash Missile test flight conducted?

The Akash Missile maiden test flight occurred in 1990, with development flights continuing until March 1997.

Q.2. Where does the development and production of the Akash Missile take place?

The Akash Missile gets developed in conjunction with other DRDO laboratories by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad. The production and manufacturing operations take place at Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

Q.3. What type of missile is Akash Air Defence System?

Akash is primarily a medium-range Surface-to-Air missile (SAM) produced to provide air defence cover to vulnerable zones.

Q.4. What are the capabilities of the new variant of the Akash Missile?

The Akash Missile's upgraded variant, Akash-NG, can attack targets up to sixty kilometres away and travel at speeds extending to Mach 2.5.