Balasore: Fresh on the back of path breaking anti-ballistic missile interceptor tests, Indian defence scientists have reported test firings of the Akash surface-to-air missile – this time the test has taken place on the east coast of the country at the country's missile testing facilities located at Chandipore-on-sea.
Recent test firings had taken place on the Pokharan test ranges of the Indian Air Force.
The multi-target quick reaction missile is capable of a strike range of 25km and carries a warhead of 50kg. The firing was conducted from a mobile launcher, defence sources said.
The missile targeted a flying object using Pilotless Target Aircraft (PTA) 'Lakshya' as a support system, they said. It is expected that a series of test firings of the missile would be carried out over the next ten days, which would ultimately pave the way for its induction into the Indian Air Force.
The 'Akash' system has been embroiled in controversies for a long time and has been touted as one of DRDO's classic failures. Certainly the Government has been forced to issue periodic statements over a period of time trying to explain away failures. Its failure has also forced the Government to scout around for alternative short range SAM systems of the Israeli Barak variety for the Indian Navy and Air Force.
PADE and AAD
All this has however changed with the Prithvi Air Defence Exercise (PADE) held last year, when interceptors designed by the DRDO successfully intercepted a 'hostile' missile in the outer atmosphere (exo-atmospheric).
Almost a year later DRDO successfully conducted the second part of the anti-ballistic missile tests by having its interceptors take out incoming missiles within the atmosphere (endo-atmospheric) in the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) tests.
Early on in November the Akash had also undergone successful test firings at the Pokharan range, suggesting a maturing of technologies that has allowed the PADE and AAD tests to be successfully concluded.
According to scientists, the trial was carried out to fine-tune the sophisticated missile.
The Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) at Hyderabad, the nodal agency that designed the missile, has also approved its "flight consistency", they said.
The 5.6-metre-long missile weighing about 700 kg uses an integral "ramjet" rocket propulsion system and has a low reaction time.