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By Bulbul Singh

17 Jul 06. India’s homegrown surface to air missile system Akash has been ordered for serial production. After completing its test trials the India Army has placed an order with the private sector company Tata Power to manufacture unspecified number of launchers for the Akash surface to air missile system.

An executive of Tata Power said the launcher for the Akash missile system has already been tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) which is developing the missile system. The company has bagged a multi million dollar contract for the production of unspecified number of the Akash missile launchers which will delivered within two and half years.

The Akash system developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be built by a consortium of Indian companies, both state owned and private to speed up the serial production of the Akash system. Sub-systems will be built by various state and private sector companies.

The consortium includes private sector company Tata Power, Larsen & Toubro L&T, and state owned Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). BEL will produce the electronic sites and communication suites and support radar for the Akash missile system for which the order has yet to be placed and Indian defence ministry official said all the orders for various sub systems this year itself. The jammers of the missile will be built by ECIL. The Akash missile will finally be integrated and assembled for delivery by BDL at Hyderabad .

The surface to air Akash missile will have a range of 25 kilometers. The 650 kilograms missile can carry a 50 kilogram payload and has a first stage fuel booster motor and the second stage has ram rocket motor. It is guided by command guidance from ground radar system and on-board precision homing system.

The radar of the Akash missile is homegrown Rajendra radar comprising antenna array with 4000 elements and operating in the G/H Band (4-8 GHs). Akash, is one of the few missiles in the world to be based on the “integrated ramrocket, homing” technology, claimed a senior DRDO scientist. Under the homing technology once the enemy aircraft are detected and identified by the Akash system, the radar will lock the target and launch up to four missiles at a time. No amount of maneuvering by the enemy aircraft will be able to shake off the missiles homing onto them at a speed of over 3.5 Mach.

A DRDO scientist claimed that the Akash missile is based on the Russian supplied air defense system SA-6 and its indigenously developed Rajendra radar is similar to the 30N6 Flap-Lid B engagement radar, used by the S-300 ATBM system of Russia.

The first flight of Akash missile took place in 1990 and the development flight took off in 1997. The Akash will be used to defend large defense installations, like air fields, against enemy air attack. One battery/squadron of Akash missiles will consist of three tracked vehicles mounted with four missiles each and a vehicle carrying a phased array radar system capable of tracking of tracking multiple targets at the same time.

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