Indian state-owned company, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence, on Sept. 13, for procurement of seven squadrons of Akash Missile Systems for the Indian Air Force.
This is a turnkey contract with specialist infrastructure. The total value of the contract is Rs. 5,357 Crores and the delivery will be completed in 3 years. These systems will be commissioned at seven Air Force locations spread across the country.
Akash is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) system developed by Indian state-owned defence development agency, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The missile systems are produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) while radars and control centers are manufactured by Bharat Electronics (BEL).
The missile has a 60 kg (130 lb) high-explosive, pre-fragmented warhead with a proximity fuse.
The missile system can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m. It has the capability to “neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles”. The system provides air defence missile coverage for an area of 2,000 km².
An Akash battery comprises a single Rajendra 3D passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar and four launchers with three missiles each, all of which are interlinked. Each battery can track up to 64 targets and attack up to 12 of them.
The Akash system is fully mobile and capable of protecting a moving convoy of vehicles. The launch platform has been integrated with both wheeled and tracked vehicles.
The system is in operational service with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.