The Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully conducted the first test launch of the Akash nuclear capable supersonic missile in ripple mode from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off Balasore district in Odisha, India.
Supported by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the trial witnessed launch of three Akash missiles on tow body, released from Lakshya pilot-less target aircraft (PTA) moving at ‘low altitude far boundary.’
DRDO Directorate of Public Interface director Ravi Kumar Gupta was quoted by Press Trust of India as saying: "The missiles intercepted the fast-moving and manoeuvring small RCS (radar cross section) targets within a small interval of five seconds in ripple mode."
Meanwhile, Akash project director G Chandramouli was quoted by The Hindu as saying that the first missile was fired in a low-altitude, far boundary mode, while the next two were launched in ripple mode.
"The first missile destroyed the target. The second homed in on the destroyed parts falling down," Chandramouli said.
During trial, the missiles were guided by multi-function phased array radar developed by DRDO Lab, Electronics and Radar Development Establishment, and produced by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
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Developed by DRDO and BEL as part of the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP), the nuclear-capable Akash missile is an all-weather surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aerial threats up to a distance of 25km.
The 5.78m-long missile features a launcher, control centre, multi-function fire control radar and supporting ground equipment.
It can destroy manoeuvring targets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter aircraft, cruise missiles, and other ballistic missiles launched from helicopters.
Capable of reaching 2.5 Mach speed, the missile is ready to enter into operational service with the Indian Air Force and army.
Image: The Akash nuclear capable missile during a previous launch from Integrated Test Range, Odisha, India. Photo: courtesy of Frontier India Defense and Strategic News Service.