In news- DRDO successfully flight-tested surface-to-air missile Akash-NG off the coast of Odisha recently.
About New Generation Akash Missile (Akash-NG)-
- The missile system has been developed by Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad in collaboration with other DRDO laboratories.
- Akash-NG can strike targets at a distance of around 60 km and fly at a speed of up to Mach 2.5.
- This is now being improved into the Akash-NG, which is engineered to shoot down extremely high-performing fighter aircraft or high-manoeuvring, low radar cross-section aerial threats.
- The Akash-NG detects enemy fighters at ranges out to 80 km and initiates the launch sequence.
- The Akash-NG rocket has been re-engineered comprehensively and brought down from the legacy Akash’s 700 kg to a sleek 350 kg.
- The IAF earlier inducted seven units of the Akash missile, while the army has inducted two and has another two on order.
- Bharat Electronics Limited builds the Akash missile system for the IAF, while Bharat Dynamics Limited is the prime integrator for the army.
- The MoD earlier announced that indigenisation levels in the Akash are above 96 per cent.
- The IAF has part-funded the development of the Akash-NG.
Two key improvements to the current Akash missile have transformed it into the Akash-NG-
- The first is a brand new, two-pulse, solid rocket motor that replaces the old ramjet on the legacy Akash missile. The new motor not just reaches out to 30 kilometres (km), but also generates a high terminal velocity to strike even the fastest and most agile enemy fighters.
- The second major change in the Akash-NG is its new seeker head developed by the DRDO laboratory, Research Centre Imarat (RCI). The seeker locks onto the enemy aircraft and continuously guides the Akash-NG to impact with the target.
More about Akash Missile system-
- AKASH is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile system to protect vulnerable areas and vulnerable points from air attacks(25 Kms).
- The missile was inducted in 2014 in IAF and in 2015 in Indian Army.
- AKASH Weapon System can simultaneously engage Multiple Targets in Group Mode or Autonomous Mode.
- It has built in Electronic Counter-CounterMeasures (ECCM) features.
- The entire weapon system has been configured on mobile platforms.
- 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.
- Akash uses a ramjet propulsion system which can intercept the target at supersonic speed without deceleration.
- It 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.
- The missile has a launch weight of 720 kg, length of 5.8 m and a diameter of 350 mm and can carry a warhead of 50-60kg.
- 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.
- 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.