Akash Missile System ,Medium Range Surface to Air Missile,IGMDP,India
Akash is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile defence system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),Bharat Dynamics Limites (BDL) for missile system,Ordnance Factories board and Bharat electronics(BEL) for other systems in India.
The missile is being developed under the Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).The programme also involved the development of the Nag,Agni ,Trishul and Prithvi Ballistic missile.
In 2008, the Indian Air Force (IAF) introduced its indigenous SAM system after nine successful field trials. Some modifications to the Akash SAM, such as the launch platform, were made to the army version to meet mobility and gradeability requirements.
Two versions of the missile are being built for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army (IA). The first batch of the Akash missiles for the IA is expected to be rolled out by September 2012. The first Akash missile was delivered to the IAF in March 2012. The missile was formally inducted into the IAF in July 2015.
In June 2010, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of India ordered Rs125bn ($2.8bn) of the army version Akash missile system for induction into the Indian Army.
Development of the Akash missile system began in the 1980s, involving the work of 300 public and private companies. The flight tests were initiated in 1990 and the development flights continued till 1997. Several user trials of the missile system were conducted and its ballistic missile role was proven successful.The Akash SAM system – including the associated radars, missile and systems – took about 20 years to develop, at an investment of about $120m.
The Missile can be launched from static or mobile platforms and can handle multitarget and destroy manoeuvring targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and missiles launched from helicopters.The SAM system also defends vulnerable areas in all weather conditions against medium-range air targets being attacked from low,medium and high altitudes.
Features and Capabilties
The Akash SAM can operate autonomously and engage and neutralise different aerial targets simultaneously.The Akash missile is claimed to be more economical and accurate than the MIM-104 Patriot,operated by several nations including the US,due to its solid-fuel technology.The SAM can replaced the Russian 2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainful) missile system. The kill probability of the Akash is 88% for the first and 99% for the second missile on a target.It can intercept form a range of 30km and provide air defence missile coverage of 2000 sq. km.
The integral rocket motor/ramjet booster and sustainer motor propel the Akash SAM system .It also consists of a switchable guidance antenna system, a command guidance unit, an on board power supply, a system arming and detonation mechanism, digital autopilot, radars and C4I centres.
The most important element of the Akash SAM system battery is its high-power, multi-function Rajendra phased-array radar. The 3D passive electronically scanned array Rajendra radar (PESA) can electronically scan and guide the missile towards targets. It provides information on the range, azimuth and height of a flying target.
Design and Detonation mechanism
The Akash SAM missile has a length of 5.8m,diameter of .35 m and wingspan of 1.10 m.The missile has a launch weight of 720 kg and can fly at a speed of up to Mach 2.5 and has a height ceiling of 18km.The SAM can carry a high-explosive,pre-fragmented nuclear warhead of 60kg.
The Denotion mechanism is controlled by RF proximity fuse. The missile is also integrated with a self-destructive device. Unlike the Patriot missile, Akash uses a ramjet propulsion system which gives it thrust to intercept the target at supersonic speed without any speed deceleration.The terminal guidance system of the missile enables its working through electronic countermeasures.
Rajendra Radar and PESA Antenna Array
The Akash battery has four Rajendra radars and four launchers interlinked together and controlled by the group control centre (GCC). Each launcher, equipped with three missiles, is controlled by one radar that can track 16 targets and simultaneously guide 12 Akash missiles.
The PESA antenna array has a swivel of 360° on a rotating platform. The Rajendra radar can detect up to a radius of 80km and can engage at a range of 60km at an altitude of 8km. The communication links, command and control nodes, sensors and self-propelled launchers of the entire Akash SAM system are IT-integrated. The weapons system uses radar vehicles and T-72 tank chassis for launchers.
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