New Delhi (Sputnik) — In a demonstration of the country's indigenous capability, Indian defense scientists successfully launched the Akash surface-to-air missile with indigenous radio frequency seeker on Tuesday afternoon. With this launch, the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) can now claim that it can make any type of surface-to-air missile. The missile was tested against the unmanned Banshee aircraft.
“This is the first Surface to Air Missile with indigenous seeker that has been test fired. With this success, India has achieved the capability of making any type of Surface to Air Missile,” DRDO said in a statement. This missile is being inducted into Army as Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM).
The 5.8-meter long missile having a launch weight of 720 kilograms is capable of engaging aerial threats up to a distance of 30 kilometers. It can fly at supersonic speeds of around 2.5 Mach and can reach an altitude of 18 kilometers.
Presently, two squadrons of Akash missile systems are operational in the Indian Air Force. Earlier this year, the Indian defense ministry canceled the short-range surface-to-air missile system competition in favor of the Akash missile system. Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, Russian Rosonboronexport, and Swedish Saab were competing for the tender. The Indian defense ministry had allocated $2.8 billion for the procurement of two regiments of Akash missile systems for the Indian Army. A regiment equates to 240/288 launchers and 625/750 missiles.