Image Courtesy: Maxima Vigilantia         

The surface-to-air missile was launched from Chandipur ITR in the afternoon. The Akash new-generation missile will be used by the Indian Air Force to intercept high-manoeuvring low radar cross-section aerial threats. India on Monday successfully test-fired the new-generation Akash missile from an integrated test range off the Odisha coast, an official statement said

The Akash-NG (New-Generation) missile will be used by the Indian Air Force to intercept high-manoeuvring low radar cross-section aerial threats, it said. The missile intercepted the target with textbook precision. The launch met all the test objectives by performing high manoeuvres during the trajectory. “The performance of the command and control system, on-board avionics and aerodynamic configuration of the missile was successfully validated during the trial, a DRDO statement said.

During the test launch, the entire flight path of the missile was monitored and the flight data was captured by various range instruments.

The multi-function radar was tested for its capability of integration with the system, sources said.

The Akash-NG system has been developed with better deployability compared to other similar systems. The test launch was carried out by a combined team of DRDO, BDL and BEL in the presence of the Air Force representatives, the statement said.

About Akash-NG

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, electromechanical actuation, and dual-pulse rocket motor according to a report published in defence website Maxima Vigilantia.

The new model has substantial improvement in missile performance. The Akash-NG will not only have greater range but also the advanced signal processing and guidance system which will improve missile's reliability and performance at extremities of engagement envelope and in a dense electronic jamming environment.

Another plus point is that Akash-NG will utilize a canister-based launch system. Since the new model appears to be considerably lighter and less bulky than its predecessor, a single launcher unit is expected to carry six hermetically sealed missile canisters. Canister-based launch system would provide much longer shelf life and reliability. It also reduces overall deployment time. Akash-1 missiles are also stored in sealed canisters but they have to be mounted on launcher rails without the canister, which makes reloading a time-consuming task.

According to sources familiar with the evaluation, 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. The use of AESA radar versus older PESA Rajendra radar allows for a much higher sensitivity and reliability. MFR combined with enhanced command and control system will improve overall processing and target handling capability which means that Akash-NG will have a faster reaction time and a higher level of protection against saturation attacks. It has increased the number and types of target Akash can engage. In addition to intercepting incoming PGMs, cruise missiles, and aircraft, the new SAM will also be able to destroy short-range rockets and ballistic missiles.

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 Aakash Missiles to take on aerial attacks. The Akash-NG missile defence system is a significant strategic upgrade in India's military hardware.

In networked air-defence environment, Akash-NG will work with Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS).