Chandipur- on- sea, Orissa: The medium-range, surface-to-air missile, Akash, has once again had a successful test firing, for the fifth time in a row over the last ten days, at the country's missile testing range at Chandipur- on- sea, near Balasore. The fifth and last test firing took place with the missile successfully destroying an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which was simulating an air attack.
Reports from the complex say that as the destroyed target vanished from the radar screen spontaneous applause broke out. The missile was guided precisely to a close proximity to the UAV and the warhead, equipped with a close proximity fuse exploded, destroying the target.
The test, fifth overall, was also the grand finale of the ten-day user field trials conducted for the Indian Air Force.
Akash is a mobile, multi-target handling, medium range surface-to-air missile developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). The missile system has been configured to be part of a futuristic network centric operations, with most of the systems having been automated.
The entire weapon system has undergone functional evaluation at the Kolar fields near Bangalore followed by operational and mobility trials at the IAF's Pokharan test firing ranges. The Indian Air Force carried out various types of ECCM (electronic counter-counter measure) evaluations at Gwalior against electronic targets and counter measure systems.
The user trials at Chandipur-on-sea were the final phase of the user evaluations.
Defence sources say that the test facilities at ITR, Balasore have the world's best instrumentation facilities. The flight was conducted under the leadership of Dr Panyam, project director. Dr Prahlada, who conceptualised Akash and is now the chief controller at DRDO was present during the ten day tests.
According to reports, a 300-strong team of scientists and technicians was present for the ten-day campaign, with representatives from public sector units BDL, BEL also present.
With the conclusion of the evaluation tests, the Akash is now available for indigenous production. The missile system is uniquely configured and customised for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.