Surface-to-air missile, Akash, test fired for the third time

Bhubaneshwar, Orissa: India on Saturday successfully tested its surface-to-air Akash missile for the third successive day, defence officials said. Along with the two earlier tests, the third one was also described as successful.

The missile was fired from the Chandipur-on-Sea testing site in Orissa state on India's eastern coast on Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The 700-kilogramme (1,540-pound) Akash, whose name means "Sky" in Hindi, has a strike range of 27 kilometres and can carry a 55-kilogramme warhead.

Earlier reports quoting defence officials had said that that tests of the Akash were likely to continue for a full ten days, as the country's top defence research agency, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, fine-tunes the weapon for use by the Indian Air Force.

Akash has gone into intensive testing soon after India completed a path-breaking test of an interceptor system that will eventually become part of a two-tier, ballistic missile defence system.

India's two immediate neighbours, China and Pakistan, flanking its northern and western borders, are both nuclear armed and ballistic missile equipped.