Akash Missile Flight Test Successful


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

The Army in Febuary 2014 successfully flight-tested Akash, the surface-to-air missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha.
The missile was bang on target — a pilotless aircraft. The Akash weapon system is an all-weather, air defence system for defending valuable assets from aerial attacks. The missile can engage adversarial aircraft flying at a distance of 25 km. It can target fighter-aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters and cruise missiles.
The missile boasted of a command and guidance unit, a proximity fuse and an on-board computer, all developed by the Research Centre, Imarat, situated on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The RCI is a key missile centre of the DRDO. Besides, the RCI developed the gyroscope package, the telemetry system, the missile launch processor and the launch software for Akash.
The advantages of Akash are that it thrusts all the way to intercept the enemy aircraft; it can engage multiple targets; it can be transported by rail, road and air; and it boasts of C4I, that is, command, control, communication and computers, and intelligence.
It is going to be inducted in large numbers in the Army and the Air Force. The Army and the Indian Air Force have already placed orders for Rs. 23,000 crore for the defence system. The entire system includes not only the missiles but the command and control system, the radars, the launch platforms and so on. The Defence Acquisition Council has cleared its induction into the Army and the IAF. For the Army, the missile will be mounted on a modified BMP-Infantry Combat Vehicle and the IAF will use it from a fixed platform. There would be more launches of Akash in the coming days.
The Akash system is autonomous and its operation is fully automated.  The system is configured to be cross country mobile on tracked chasses for the Army or road mobile on Tatra chasses.  This provides flexibility in deployment. The weapon system consists of a network of radars and control centers which enables it to work in a network centric manner.  It also enables robust and reliable operations, as data from multiple sensors are fused into a coherent single integrated air picture for the commander.  The system can also integrate legacy and futuristic radars.  Computers process information from several radars and also help in automatically classifying the targets as friendly or otherwise.  The system also provides for cued acquisition of multiple targets by weapon control radar based on data from surveillance radars.
The supersonic surface to air missile has a range of about  25 km and carries a 55 kg fragmentation warhead that is triggered by proximity fuze.  The missile uses state-of-art integral ram jet rocket propulsion system and the onboard digital autopilot ensures stability and control.   The missile has all the way command guidance for full range of operation.  Electro-pneumatic servo actuation system controls cruciform wings for agile response, and thermal batteries provide onboard power supply.  The Radio Proximity Fuse has advanced signal processing features. Together with the  pre fragmented warhead and safety arming mechanism, a high kill probability of maneuvering targets  is assured.
Battery  Level Radar
The Battery Level Radar (BLR) is the heart of the weapon system as it tracks the targets and missiles and guides the missiles towards the targets.  The multifunction phased array radar can simultaneously   track upto 64 targets.  In addition it can guide eight missiles towards four targets at the same time.  Electronically steered beams  enable  agility in switching between various functions of the radar.  It has a slewing antenna which enables 360o coverage in azimuth.  It has been designed with advanced ECCM features.
Production Readiness 
M/s. BEL, Bangalore has been identified as the Nodal production agency for Akash weapon system. M/s.  BDL, Hyderabad, M/s. ECIL, Hyderabad, M/s. L&T Mumbai and M/s. TPCL Mumbai are the  major production partners.  About 300 industries in Public and Private sectors contribute to the production of the weapon system.  Concurrent engineering practices have been adopted to minimize the learning curve in production.  The vendors have been carefully chosen for their familiarity with critical technologies, manpower and quality management systems.  Production documentation containing detailed specifications of raw-materials processes and products.
 
 

Sunday, 23rd Feb 2014, 07:25:48 PM

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