The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested the “New Generation Akash Missile” (Akash-NG) on Wednesday at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Balasore in Odisha.
“The flight trial was conducted at 12:45 PM from a land-based platform with all weapon system elements such as multifunction radar, command, control and communication system and launcher participating in deployment configuration,” announced the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the army already operate nine batteries of the old Akash missile. This is now being improved into the Akash-NG, which is engineered to shoot down extremely high-performing fighter aircraft — or high-manoeuvring, low radar cross-section aerial threats, as the IAF calls them.
Two key improvements to the current Akash missile have transformed it into the Akash-NG. The first is a brand new, two-pulse, solid rocket motor that replaces the old ramjet on the legacy Akash missile. The new motor not just reaches out to 30 kilometres (km), but also generates a high terminal velocity to strike even the fastest and most agile enemy fighters.
The second major change in the Akash-NG is its new seeker head, which has been developed by the DRDO laboratory, Research Centre Imarat (RCI).