New Delhi: The Akash-1S missile which has been designed to take on incoming aerial attacks was successfully tested earlier this week. This variant of Akash has some additional features compared to to the original once. Akash-1S missile has an indigenous seeker and can shoot down enemy fighter jets, missiles and drones very effectively and accurately at a range of up to 30 kilometres and at altitudes up to 18 km.

According to news agency ANI, this is the second successful test of the missile in the last two days. Akash missile system has already been deployed by IAF at its bases in Gwalior, Hashimara, Tejpur, Jorhat, and Pune since 2013.

The missile uses high-energy solid propellant for the booster and ram-rocket propulsion for the sustainer phase. The medium range multi-target engagement capable missile was developed as part of the Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) other than Nag, Agni, Trishul, and Prithvi missiles, say reports.

Akash NG (Next Generation):

A next generation Akash missile is said to be under development. The DRDO is said to be working one the development of the highly advanced Akash-NG or Akash-Next Generation. In June 2018, it was reported that the next-generation Akash-NG missile will be ready for user trials in the next two years. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) Chairman and Managing Director S K Sharma had then said that the upgraded version will have a new radar and seeker.

Akash missiles are designed to be launched from static or mobile platforms such as battle tanks and wheeled trucks, providing flexible deployment. It can handle multiple targets and destroy manoeuvring targets, including unmanned aerial vehicles, fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and missiles launched from helicopters. Deployment of Akash significantly improves defence capabilities from incoming air attacks.

According to a report published in Maxima Vigilantie, the Akash-NG missile has a cylindrical body with four cropped delta fins at mid-body and four tail fins. Second stage air-breathing solid ramjet engine has been ditched in favour of lighter dual-pulse solid rocket motor. The new propulsion system will increase the range of the missile to 50km+. Akash-NG has six major components- radome, indigenous active RF seeker, RF/Laser proximity fuse, pre-fragmented warhead, Electro-Mechanical actuation, and dual-pulse rocket motor.

The Akash missile, which is in service now, is guided by a phased array fire control radar called 'Rajendra' which is termed as Battery Level Radar (BLR) with a tracking range of about 60 km. Akash-NG will feature an AESA Multi-Function Radar (MFR). The Addition of MFR will afford the Akash missile system capabilities it never had before. MFR will combine functions (search, track and fire control) of three different radars in one single unit. This new Akash NG will significantly bolster India's air defence system. India is currently working on a multi layered air defence system to tackle with the incoming aerial attack. India's purchase of S-400 Triumf system from Russia was in line with this ongoing endeavour. India is already working on two-tier Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Program and has Akash Missiles to take on aerial attacks. The S-400 Triumf missile defence system is a significant strategic upgrade in India's military hardware.