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August 12, 2014

Indian Air Force conducts Akash missile’s user trial

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has fired Akash nuclear capable supersonic missile from the launch complex III of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odhisa, India.

Akash missile

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has fired Akash nuclear capable supersonic missile from the launch complex III of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odhisa, India.

ITR director MVKV Prasad was quoted by Press Trust of India as saying that the exercise was carried out as part of a user trial by IAF, and was ‘fully successful.’

However, The New Indian Express reported that domestically developed missile failed to destroy target contradicting the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s claims that all mission parameters were met.

Akash was supposed to intercept the Italian Mirage aircraft during the test, which was aimed at validating the flight consistency and effectiveness of the missile.

An unnamed ITR source told the news agency that the missile failed to intercept the target due to the delay in take-off.

"The missile failed to intercept the target due to the delay in take-off."

The source said: "There was a slight disturbance in simulation following a few seconds delay in take off for which the missile failed to hit the target."

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The missile also failed to take-off as planned on several occasions in the past as the launcher failed to receive required command in time to fire the missile, according to the news agency.

Developed by DRDO and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) as part of the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP), Akash missile is an all-weather surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aerial threats up to a distance of 25km.

Equipped with a launcher, control centre, multi-function fire control radar and supporting ground equipment, the 5.78m-long missile can destroy manoeuvring targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles, fighter aircraft, cruise missiles, and other ballistic missiles launched from helicopters.

Capable of reaching speeds of 2.5 Mach, the missile has already entered into IAF’s operational service, and is awaiting induction into the Indian Army.


Image: An Air Force version of Akash nuclear-capable missile being launched. Photo: courtesy of Defence Research and Development Organisation.

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