India awards contract to BEL for additional Akash missile systems

16 September 2019 (Last Updated September 16th, 2019 15:20)

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) to supply additional surface-to-air Akash missile systems.

India awards contract to BEL for additional Akash missile systems
Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile defence system which was inducted into the IAF in 2015. Credit: Bharat Electronics Limited.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) to supply additional surface-to-air Akash missile systems.

Under the turnkey contract, which has a potential value of about Rs53.57bn ($752.89m), BEL will deliver seven squadrons of Akash missile system for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The state-owned aerospace and defence company is expected to deliver the systems in the coming three years.

The IAF will commission the medium-range Akash missile systems at seven different locations across the country.

BEL previously delivered six squadrons of the surface-to-air missile defence system to the IAF in 2015-16.

The procurement of the additional squadrons for the IAF was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council in September 2015.

The Akash system is developed locally by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) is the principal integrator of the missile.

BEL produces electronics and Rajendra fire-control radar for the surface-to-air missile.

Earlier this month, the Indian Government approved the purchase of six squadrons of the missile system.

The procurement decision is seen as a move to counter recent aggressive posturing by Pakistan. India carried an airstrike earlier this year inside Pakistan’s territory targeting a terrorist camp.

Akash was formally inducted into service with the IAF in 2015. Another version of the missile is used by the Indian Army.

In May this year, DRDO test-fired a new version of Akash fitted with a locally built seeker off the coast of Odisha.

The missile system provides multi-target engagement capability and was developed under the MoD’s Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).

Meanwhile, the IAF has started receiving the first batch of the Israeli-developed Spice-2000 bombs, news agency ANI reported.