New Delhi, Dec 21 (UNI) Akash, a medium range surface-to-air missile developed as part of India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, today achieved another milestone when it successfully hit the bull's eye for the fifth time in a row in the last ten days at test range in Balasore in Orissa.
The fifth and last trial successfully took place at 1415 hrs at Chandipur- on- sea when the missile destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) simulating an air attack, the Defence Ministry said in a statement here this evening.
The target vanished from the radar screen when the missile was guided precisely in close proximity and the warhead blast occurred, much to the delight of users present in the flight campaign.
With the conclusion of Akash evaluation, the missile is now available for indigenous production in the country, the statement added.
Indian Air Force officials witnessed users trial. This was the grand finale of the ten days of users campaign meticulously planned by them.
Dr Prahlada, who conceptualised Akash, and is now Chief Controller at Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) headquarters, was also present along with a 300-strong team.
The flight was conducted under the leadership of Dr Panyam, project director.
Earlier on December 7, the missile during its 50th flight, had integrated, for the first time, command, control and communication systems.
Capable of handling mulitiple targets,Akash has a launch weight of 720 kg, a diameter of 35 cm and a length of 5.8 metres. It has a range of 25 km. Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching a maximum of 2.5 Mach (2.5 times the speed of sound). It can reach an altitude of 18 km. Its warhead weighs 55 kg.
The missile has been configured to be part of futuristic network centric operation, most of the which have been automated, the statement said.
While the missile meant for the Army can be launched from tracked vehicles such as battle tanks, the Air Force version can take off from wheeled vehicles. Three ready-to-fire Akash missiles can be carried in a battle tank. The missiles can take off in different directions and destroy multiple targets. Akash can be deployed by rail, road or air.
The entire weapon system has gone through functional evaluation in Kolar near Bangalore followed by operation and mobility trials in Pokharan ranges in Rajasthan. The ECCM (elctronic counter counter measure) evaluation was carried out at Gwalior by Air Force against various types of electronic targets and counter measures.
The final phase of user evaluation as part of user trials was done in Chandipur.