In order to boost domestic manufacturing, the Union Cabinet Approves Export of Akash Missile System and Creates a Committee for faster Approval of Exports
Why export promotion
- After its induction in the Services, interest is shown in Akash missile by many friendly countries during International Exhibitions/Def Expo/Aero India.
- The Cabinet approval will facilitate Indian manufactures to participate in RFI/RFP issued by various countries.
- Besides Akash, there is interest coming in other major platforms like Coastal Surveillance System, Radars and Air platforms.
- The Government of India intends to focus on exporting high value defence platforms, to achieve a target of 5 Billion USD of defence export and improve strategic relations with friendly foreign countries.
Committee to fasten the exports
- To provide faster approvals for export of such platforms, a Committee consisting of the Raksha Mantri, External Affairs Minister and National Security Advisor has been created.
- This Committee would authorise subsequent exports of major indigenous platforms to various countries.
- The Committee would also explore various available options including the Government-to-Government route.
Significance of the decision
So far, Indian defence exports included parts/components etc. The export of big platforms was minimal. This initiative of the Cabinet would help the country to improve its defence products and make them globally competitive.The export version of Akash will be different from System currently deployed with Indian Armed Forces.
India Defence export strategy
Need for Strategy for Export of Defence Products
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry already has an overall Export Policy in the form of Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), which, inter-alia, includes various export promotion schemes, duty/ tax exemptions and other facilitative measures.
Therefore, there may not be a need for having a separate Defence Export Policy. Instead, there is a need to put in place a specific strategy for encouraging defence exports within the overall ambit of FTP. The strategy may include measures required for promotion/ facilitation of defence exports through institutional mechanisms and streamlining the process of issuing NOC/ clearance for export of military stores.
Accordingly, following strategy would be adopted to encourage export of defence products.
Export Promotion Body
- A specific export promotion/ facilitation body would be set up with participation from industry representatives. The body could be in the form of a society or a not for profit company under the Companies Act. T
- he role of the body would be to render advice to government on various export related issues, coordinate all export facilitation schemes of the government, increase awareness amongst the industry about various export facilitation measures and promotion of exports through specific marketing efforts in targeted countries.
- The body will identify the suitable export markets in consultation with Ministry of External Affairs and Department of Commerce, keeping in view our foreign policy and various international export control and arms control regimes.
- The body would be a nodal agency of Ministry of Defence for the purpose of organizing defence exhibitions in India and abroad.
- The body would also act as a nodal point of Ministry of Defence for participation in exhibitions abroad.
Defence Export Steering Committee
- In the government, a body namely Defence Exports Steering Committee (DESC) under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Defence Production would be constituted.
- The Committee will have representatives of Armed Forces, DRDO, PIC Wing, Acquisition Wing, MEA, DGFT.
- Wherever required, the views of industry representatives and other experts will be taken.
- The functions of this Committee would include consideration and taking decisions on cases of export permissions, which are outside the purview or scope of subordinate authorities/committees particularly export of indigenously developed sensitive defence equipment, monitor the progress in defence exports and suggest specific steps/ strategy to boost exports.
Use of Offset Policy
- Offset is an important mechanism available to the domestic industry to enhance export capability.
- The Offset Policy may be reviewed and aligned towards final integration of weapons/systems in India and promoting export of such systems from India.
- The Policy may also be reoriented towards acquisition of critical technologies required for high end weapons/platforms so that the same can be leveraged for export.
About Akash Missile System
- Akash is the country’s important missile with over 96 percent indigenisation.
- Akash is a Surface to Air Missile with a range of 25 Kms.
- The missile was inducted in 2014 in IAF and in 2015 in Indian Army.
- AKASH is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile system to protect vulnerable areas and vulnerable points from air attacks.
- AKASH Weapon System can simultaneously engage Multiple Targets in Group Mode or Autonomous Mode.
- It has built in Electronic Counter-Counter Measures (ECCM) features.
- The entire weapon system has been configured on mobile platforms.
- AKASH Weapon Systems has been inducted and is operational with the Indian Air Force (IAF) as well as the Indian Army (IA).
- Akash is India’s first indigenously produced medium range Surface to Air missile that can engage multiple targets from multiple directions.
- The all-weather missile can engage targets at a speed 2.5 times more than the speed of sound and can detect and destroy targets flying at low, medium and high altitudes.
- The Akash missile system has been designed and developed as part of India’s 30-year-old integrated guided-missile development programme (IGMDP) which also includes other missiles like Nag, Agni, Trishul and Prithvi.
Who manufactures Akash?
The missile system is designed and developed by DRDO. But Bharat Dynamics (BDL) manufacturer the missiles, while Bharat Electronics produces its hi-tech ‘Rajendra phased array radar’.
What is Akash missile’s range and capability?
The nuclear-capable missile can fly at a speed of up to Mach 2.5 (nearly 860 meter per second) at a maximum height of 18 km. It can strike enemy aerial targets like fighter jets, drones, cruise missiles, air-to-surface missiles as well as ballistic missiles from a distance of 30 km.
What’s the length and weight of Akash?
The missile has a launch weight of 720 kg, a wingspan of 1,105 mm, length of 5.8 m and a diameter of 350 mm. It can carry a warhead of 50-60kg.
What are the unique features of Akash?
- The missile is supported by the indigenously developed radar called ‘Rajendra’ that can handle highly-manoeuvring multiple targets from multiple directions in group or autonomous mode.
- The missile is reportedly cheaper and more accurate than US’ Patriot missiles due to its solid-fuel technology and high-tech radars.
- Akash uses ramjet propulsion system which can intercept the target at supersonic speed without deceleration.
- The ramjet propulsion and its electronic couter-counter measure equipment also help it break any electronic jamming system.
What are the components of the complete Akash missile defence system?
The Akash missile system has seven components.
- It contains integral ramjet propulsion; a switchable guidance antenna system; a command guidance unit; an onboard power supply; a system arming and detonation mechanism; digital autopilot; multi-function Rajendra phased-array radar; 3D passive electronically scanned array Rajendra radar (PESA) and command centres.
- Akash contains four Rajendra radars and four launchers are interlinked together and controlled by the group control centre. Each launcher, equipped with three missiles and one radar, can track 16 targets. So in total, the radar can track 64 targets and simultaneously launch 12 Akash missiles.