Bangalore/New Delhi: India achieved a significant milestone with the successful test-firing of the Akash New-Generation (Akash-NG) missile at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, off the Odisha coast. Executed by the Defence Research and Development Organization, on Friday at 10.30am, the test targeted a high-speed unmanned aerial vehicle flying at an exceptionally low altitude.
According to a DRDO official, the Akash-NG missile system demonstrated its capabilities by effectively intercepting and destroying the specified target. The official said, “It has validated the functioning of the complete weapon system consisting of the missile with indigenously developed radio-frequency seeker, launcher, multi-function radar, and command, control & communication system.”
Verification of the system’s performance was conducted using data obtained from various radars, telemetry, and electro-optical tracking systems deployed by ITR, Chandipur. The test was observed by senior officials from the DRDO, Indian Air Force (IAF), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
The Akash-NG missile system, recognized as a state-of-the-art solution against high-speed and agile aerial threats, boasts an impressive range of nearly 60 kilometres and a speed of Mach 2.5 (which is 2.5 times the speed of sound). Once inducted, it is expected to significantly enhance the air-defence capabilities of the Indian Air Force.
Friday’s test-firing of the Akash-NG missile marks another successful chapter in the testing of the Akash-NG missile system, following previous tests in January and July at the same facility. It has now set the stage for its user trials.
The Akash-NG missile system operates within an elevation range of 20–70 degrees and a complete 360-degree angle. It is designed to reload two canister missile stacks within a swift 10-minute timeframe. The reaction time from target acquisition to launch is an impressive 10 seconds for a single missile, with a firing rate of 20 seconds for a three-missile system. The deployment period is less than 20 minutes, transitioning from transportation mode to a ready-to-fire state.
Noteworthy progress was made the previous year with the delivery of the first radio-frequency seeker for the system by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) – a state-owned company. The radio-frequency seeker is a critical and technologically advanced subsystem essential for target tracking during the terminal phase of flight.
The defence minister, Rajnath Singh, extended commendations to the DRDO, IAF, PSUs, and the industry for the successful test, emphasizing the positive impact of the system’s development on the country’s air-defence capabilities. Dr Samir V Kamat, secretary of the Department of Defence (R&D) and chairman of DRDO, also extended congratulations to the teams involved in the successful flight-test of Akash-NG.