'Akash' ready for production: Rs 5000 crore business in 10 years

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Hyderabad, Jan 8 (UNI) 'Akash', an indigenously developed Surface to Air Missile (SAM) and multiple target handling system, is ready to serve Air and Army forces said, Chief Controller (Research and Development) of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr Prahlada.

Addressing newspersons here yesterday, Dr Prahlada said, ''Akash, targeting fighter aircrafts, cruise missiles and Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) of enemies, has been completely developed to be used by defence forces after conducting flight tests with the participation of public and private companies.'' Stating that the DRDO took 21 years to develop the innate technology for this air defence weapon system, he said more than 1000 scientists, 13 Defence Research organisations and 100 private companies participated in the project. ''It was a milestone in the history of defence research,'' he added.

Mr Prahlada said, ''We are estimating Rs 5000 crore worth orders from Air Force and Army in next 10 years. The former had already started its process to induct 'Akash' missiles. The final decision would be taken on their acquirement at the meeting of Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC), chaired by Defence minister A K Antony, next month.'' He said the technology would be upgraded continuously to meet the world standards, adding, ''our dream is to export the missile to other countries and we are ready to do so. We have to get permission from Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs to export.'' ''First two squadrons would be developed in three years. Every bloc would be improved based on the feedback of users,'' Mr Prahlada added.

Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) Director P Venugopalan said, ''The scientists have developed many technologies to make Akash a success. Every problem that came before the scientists was being solved while developing the technology.

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