India successfully test-fires new generation Akash surface-to-air missile, anti-tank missile

Express News Service
BHUBANESWAR: In a major boost to defence preparedness, India on Wednesday successfully flight tested two indigenously developed weapon systems designed for next generation warfare.

While the Akash New Generation (Akash-NG) surface-to-air missile was test-fired from a defence facility off the Odisha coast, the Man Portable Anti Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) was fired from another location in full operational configuration.

Defence sources said Akash-NG blasted off from a land-based canisterised mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) and successfully demonstrated high maneuverability required for neutralising fast and agile aerial threats.

Designed and developed by DRDO, the Akash-NG system has been equipped with active electronically scanned array multi-function radar to search, track and fire control in one platform. It is capable of intercepting high manoeuvring low radar cross section aerial targets.

While the earlier variant of Akash had a maximum strike range of 30 km, the new generation Akash has an operational range of 70 km and can defend an area 10 times better compared to any short range surface-to-air missile and is capable of engaging up to 10 targets simultaneously.

Akash is India’s first indigenously designed, developed and produced air defence system and the cheapest surface-to-air missile ever produced in the world with supersonic interception speed. Unlike its earlier version, Akash-NG uses a two-pulse solid rocket motor that gives it a longer range and the ability to generate a high terminal velocity.

DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy said the flawless performance of the entire weapon system has been confirmed by complete flight data captured by electro optical tracking system, radar and telemetry.

“Once deployed, the Akash-NG weapon system will prove to be a force multiplier for the air defence capability of Indian Air Force,” he said. The launch was witnessed by representatives of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and production agencies Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited.

In another significant achievement, the indigenously developed low weight Man Portable Anti Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) was successfully test-fired validating the weapon system’s minimum range.

The missile was launched from a man portable launcher integrated with a thermal site and the target was mimicking a tank. The missile hit the target in direct attack mode and destroyed it with precision.

Equipped with state-of-the-art miniaturised infrared imaging seeker along with advanced avionics, the missile operates on fire and forget mode. With the test, the development of the indigenous third generation MPATGM has neared completion, the sources said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has congratulated DRDO and the industry for the successful tests of both the missiles. The weapons will strengthen the Indian Armed Forces, he added.