DRDO – India Akash Supersonic Air Defence Missile

Akash (Sanskrit: Ä€kāśa “Sky”) is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile defense system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for Missile Systems and Bharat Electronics (BEL) for other radars, control centers in India. The supersonic missile is India’s first surface-to-air missile with indigenous seeker to be test fired. The missile system can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m. It has the capability to “neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles” as well as ballistic missiles. It is in operational service with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.

An Akash battery comprises a single Rajendra 3D passive electronically scanned array radar and four launchers with three missiles each, all of which are interlinked. Each battery can track up to 64 targets and attack up to 12 of them. The missile has a 60 kg (130 lb) high-explosive, pre-fragmented warhead with a proximity fuse. The Akash system is fully mobile and capable of protecting a moving convoy of vehicles. The launch platform has been integrated with both wheeled and tracked vehicles. While the Akash system has primarily been designed as an air defence SAM, it also has been tested in a missile defense role. The system provides air defence missile coverage for an area of 2,000 km². The Indian military’s combined orders of the Akash, including radar systems (WLR and Surveillance), have a total worth of 23,300 crore (US$4 billion).

The design of the missile is somewhat similar to that of the SA-6 with four long tube ramjet inlet ducts mounted mid-body between wings. For pitch/yaw control four clipped triangular moving wings are mounted on the mid-body. For roll control four inline clipped delta fins with ailerons are mounted before the tail. However, the internal schema shows a different layout with an onboard digital computer, no Semi-active seeker, different propellant, different actuators and command guidance datalinks. The Akash carries an onboard radio-proximity fuse. Composite technology for Akash includes radome assemblies, booster liners, ablative liners, sustainer liners, compression moulded wings and fins.

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