Akash, the indigenous supersonic short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, is one of the five missile projects of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) of the DRDO. The objective of the project Akash was to develop critical and sophisticated technologies for a ground system and a missile system and integrate these technologies into a state-of-the-art SAM air defence system capable of destroying multiple aerial targets simultaneously.

Akash is a very potent supersonic mobile multi-directional multi-target point/area air defence system that can simultaneously engage several air threats like aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles up to a maximum range of 27 km up to an altitude of 18 km using sophisticated multifunction phased array and surveillance radars in a fully autonomous mode. Built in ECCM features of Akash facilitate normal function in intense jamming environment.


Three sets of combat elements of weapon systems like Battery Level Radars, Battery Control Centres and Self-propelled Launchers were made on BMP-I, BMP-II and T-72 chassis with modifications on hulls suitable to fit the equipment. All these systems were used in demonstrating the performance of the weapon system during development and user trials.

A total of 38 vehicle-based systems were developed on both tracked and wheeled vehicles and were used to demonstrate the capability of the system through flight testing of 61 Akash missiles. 


Interception of moving aerial targets with Akash missile system was demonstrated through various flight tests in different mission profiles like: 

(a) interception of far boundary targets,
(b) near boundary targets,
(c) high altitude targets,
(d) crossing and receding targets,
(e) ripple mode firing on approaching and receding targets,
(f) multiple target interception,
(g) low altitude far boundary interception, and
(h) low altitude and near boundary interception.

The system was also subjected to Electronic Warfare (EW) trials for proving the system resistance in intense jamming environment. Flight tests were conducted with deliverable production equipment of the Indian Army and IAF demonstrating target interceptions at low altitude near boundary UAV and precision guided bomb SPICE 2000 earning the satisfaction of the users.


Some of the indigenous technologies developed by DRDO during the program are: integral ram rocket propulsion system, multifunction phased array radar system, multi beam 3D surveillance radar system, C4I system hardware and software for air defence application, command guidance system, dual control digital autopilot and PN guidance, digitally coded radio proximity fuze, electrical servo drive system, frequency hopping communication system, switchable guidance antenna system, built-in ECCM features for guidance, digital coded guidance schemes for multiple missile tracking, end game techniques for maximizing effectiveness of kill, multi-radar tracking and fusion of tracks, five-stage safety arming mechanism, dual frequency generating power supply system, digital signal processing techniques, software algorithms for automatic controlling of weapon system and simulators and training aids to demonstrate capability of system.


Based on the performance of system demonstrated through user evaluation trials, user field trials and flight tests, the system was formally inducted into Indian Army on 5 May 2015 and into the IAF on 10 July 2015. Production order worth Rs 20,000 crore was placed by the IAF and the Indian Army. Seeing the performance of Akash radars, Indian Armed Forces also placed orders for Akash offshoot products like Rohini, Revathi and the Weapon Locating Radars. Akash missile system is produced by nodal production agency Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore for IAF and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad, for Indian Army. Radars and radar-related equipment are being produced by BEL. While missiles and their related equipment are being produced by BDL, the launchers are being produced by Tata Power SED and M/s L&T. The control centres are produced by ECIL. About 300 MSMEs are involved in continuous production of components/ sub-systems/modules for Akash Missile System.

The program has ensured that the industry partners involved in development were also given preference for production. Additional industry partners were developed in some cases where the rate of production was required to be enhanced. During the production, DRDO revamped radars, control centres, launchers with re-engineering of system on trailers and high mobility TATRA vehicles as per the requirement indicated by the IAF and the Indian Army. Some performance enhancement features, which were demonstrated through flight testing, were added on deliverable production version equipment. Since, for the first time production of an indigenous SAM system of this magnitude was being attempted, DRDO guided all the stakeholders (DRDO labs, BEL, BDL, OFs, inspection agencies, industries and the users) towards successful production, inspection, testing, and validation.


Production of Akash missiles for Indian Army are being continuously monitored by the Project Group. Order worth Rs 5,500 crore for seven Squadrons (14 FUs) of Akash is expected by March 2018. Request for Proposal for two more Regiments of Akash Weapon System (with RF seeker missiles) worth about Rs 10,000 crore is also expected from the Indian Army. Eight Squadrons of Akash missile system and six Troops have been delivered to the IAF and the Indian Army, respectively. Infrastructure was created at user’s sites for storage, deployment, operation and maintenance of the system through lead production agencies. Supply chain for a special surface-to-air weapon system elements like surveillance radars, missile guidance radars, launchers, control centres, missile subsystems, ground support systems, etc., have been established with stringent aerospace/military grade requirements. Realization of missile guidance radars, launchers, control centres, surveillance radars has demonstrated DRDO’s commitment to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government.

The DRDO created a revenue of about Rs 38,000 crore through Akash missile system and its offshoot products, which is a commendable achievement for indigenous design and development. DRDO has also gained the experience of generating technology transfer documents for manufacturing, inspection, testing, and integration of the surface-to-air weapon system. DRDO also gained the experience of handling and guiding all the stakeholders at various critical stages of production, inspection, integration and acceptance. The Akash Missile System is today proudly safeguarding important defence assets of the country.

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