India’s homegrown surface-to-air missile (SAM) system Akash is getting a lot of attention from other nations as they consider buying the advanced weapons platform. Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and produced by Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), Akash is a short-range SAM that can protect vulnerable areas and points from air attacks.
The DRDO has said India is the first nation that made a system capable of engaging four aerial targets at the same time at 25 km range by command guidance using a single firing unit.
Here are some key points about the Akash SAM, which is also being seen as India’s “Iron Dome”, the system used by Israel to intercept incoming rocket barrages.
- After Armenia, Brazil, and Egypt have shown interest on the Akash SAM.
- The Akash weapon system can engage multiple targets at the same time in a group or autonomous mode.
- Akash has built-in electronic counter-counter measures (ECCM) features, which can help the missile punch through enemy jamming and other methods of evasion.
- The entire Akash weapon system has been configured on mobile platforms. This makes it agile and nimble as it can be transported fast anywhere.
- The Akash mobile system also enhances its survivability by moving from one place to another after firing missiles and before the enemy can launch a counter-attack, mostly with anti-radiation missiles that home in on radar emissions.
- The Akash is in service with both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF).
- Akash’s comparison with Israel’s Iron Dome comes from the fact that the Indian system, which is much larger than the Iron Dome missiles, can also intercept unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other types of smaller incoming projectiles, apart from helicopters and aircraft.
- The Akash system, however, is seen mainly for defence against bigger aerial threats like aircraft, than small rockets that the Iron Dome is mostly used to intercept.
- The Akash SAM can hit targets between 4.5 km to 25 km, with an effective altitude of 100 meters to 20 km.
- The missile is 5,870 mm long, has a diameter of 350 mm, and weighs 710 kg. It can be made fully automatic with a quick response time from target detection to kill. Its open-system architecture ensures adaptability to existing and futuristic air defence environments.
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