India inches closer to Akash-NG fielding

The state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India has conducted another test-firing of the in-development Akash New-Generation (Akash-NG) surface-to-air missile (SAM), the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced.

According to the MoD, the flight test was staged at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur off India’s northeastern coast, which saw the Akash-NG prototype engage a high-speed unmanned aerial target at very low altitude.

“The target was successfully intercepted by the weapon system,” said the MoD, noting that the effort validated the complete system comprising the missile, launcher, radar, as well as the command and control suite. he test launch and the missile flight path were monitored by electro-optical targeting systems, radar, and telemetry systems deployed by the ITR.

“The successful flight test has paved the way for user trials,” it added.

The MoD performed the first and second launch-tests of the Akash-NG in January and July 2021.

The Akash-NG is a next-generation SAM system being developed by the DRDO, Bharat Dynamics Limited, and Bharat Electronics Limited for the Indian Air Force (IAF) with the aim of intercepting highly manoeuvrable and low-observable aerial threats.

The Akash (Sky) family of SAM systems is designed to provide area air defence against various air threats and can be configured as a trailer-mounted/truck mobile system or as fixed air defence emplacements.

The system is essentially a modernised version of the Russian Kub (NATO: SA-6 Gainful) medium range SAM featuring a large number of indigenous subsystems and components, including a newer and more effective phased array radar for target tracking and illumination instead of the original system’s mechanically-scanned radar.

It is understood that the baseline Akash SAM system is capable of engaging targets at ranges from 3 km to 30 km, operating at altitudes between 30 m and 18 km. The Akash-NG, in contrast, reportedly offers an interception range of up to 60 km.

A typical package can include surveillance radars and phased array passive electronically scanned tracking and guidance radar, and transporter-erector launchers (TELs). Each firing battery can include up to four TELs each armed with Akash-NG missiles, along with C2, tactical radar, and support vehicles.

by Jr Ng