Defence sources said the indigenously developed missile was test fired from the launching complex – III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea. The missile was to hit the Italian aircraft Mirage, flown prior to the weapon’s launch, in a simulated coordination.
While the DRDO officials claimed that the missile met all mission parameters, sources at the test range told ‘The Express’ that the missile failed to destroy the target due to delay in take off. “There was a slight disturbance in simulation following a few seconds delay in take off for which the missile failed to hit the target,” the source informed.
The test was however aimed at gauging the flight consistency and effectiveness of the missile. The complete Akash missile system including targets were operated by IAF personnel exploiting the overall capabilities of system in different envelops. The missile has been already inducted in to IAF and the system is in continuous production and induction.
As reported by ‘The Express’ earlier the Akash system has a problem with its radar since long for which the army had been denying it for years to induct in the armed forces. The launcher did not get required command in time to fire the missile leading to delay in take off in a couple of occasions in the past.
The missile has a range of 25 km to 30 km and an effective ceiling of 18 km. Fueled by solid propellants, the weapon can fly at supersonic speed of around 2.5 Mach. The 5.8-metre-long sleek missile has a launch weight of 720 kg and can carry a warhead of 50 kg.
Akash missile system has a passive phased array radar which is capable of tracking as many as 64 targets and controlling up to 12 missiles simultaneously. As claimed by the DRDO it can be used to counter ballistic and cruise missiles, enemy aircrafts and air-to-surface missiles.