New Delhi: With the Indian Air Force (IAF) giving a guarded approval to the indigenously developed medium range Akash surface-to-air missile, it is now the turn of the Indian Army to test the system for possible induction into its air defence artillery. From remarks made by Indian Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, at a press conference here, it would appear that the service would seek fresh testing of the Akash missile system geared specifically to its own needs.
''Akash has been tested for the IAF. We were not present at the trials,'' Army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor told a press conference here Monday. ''Some of our requirements are still to be met. Only after that will we try out the system.''
After 10-day long successful trials in December 2007, the IAF said that it was yet to evaluate the final report of the field tests but had decided, in principle, to induct the Akash system in squadron-strength.
According to some reports, the IAF may go in for further tests of the Akash that would mimic its operational environment. The December tests had been carried out under the aegis of the DRDO and reflected a 'laboratory' environment.
DRDO scientists had expressed satisfaction at the tests carried out last year. According to Prahlada, chief controller of R&D at DRDO, 'the development and successful user trials of the Akash missile by the army and air force (in December) is a major milestone in the country's missile programme'.
Weighing about 700 kg and three-and-a-half metres long, the missile is rail, road and air portable and apparently can be made ready for use within 30 minutes of deployment.
The missile, according to the scientist, can target enemy aircraft or helicopters at a distance of 25 km, within 30 to 45 seconds of a threat being detected.