- Akash is a medium-range mobile surface to air missile defense system developed by Defense Research and development organization. missile systems are produced by Bharat dynamics limited whereas Bharat electronics, Tata power strategic engineering division, and Larsen and turbo produce radars, control devices, and launcher systems.
- The system is in operational service with the IAF and Indian Army. The missile was developed under the Integrated Guided-missile Development Programme. the system is capable of engaging aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles, and air to surface missiles as well as ballistic missiles.
- The missile can engage target aircraft up to 30km away at an altitude of 18000m. Akash battery has a single Rajendra 3D Passive Electronically Scanned Array Radar and four launchers with 3 missiles each. A single battery can track 64 targets at a single time and can engage 12 of them. Missile weight 60kg high explosive pre fragmented warhead with a proximity fuse.
- The system contains a launcher, a missile, a control center, an integrated mission guidance system, a multifunctional radar, a system arming and explosion mechanism, a digital autopilot, command control communication, and intelligence center. The system has also been tested in a missile defense role.it provides air defense missile coverage of 2000 square KM.
- It is designed to be launched from both static or mobile platforms such as battle tanks and wheeled trucks providing flexible deployment. As of now, the missile uses solid booster and integrated rocket/Ramjet sustainer motor and in future Dual pulse, the solid rocket will be used which is under development. Akash has three variants, Akash MK1, MK2 with an operational range of 40 km and 45-60 km respectively. the third variant Akash NG with an operational range of more than 90 km will be deployed.
- Akash can fly at the supersonic speed of Mach 2.8 to 3.4 and the kill probability is 88% and it can be further improved to 98% if the second missile is launched after 5 seconds of the first launch.
- As of now, IAF operates 8 squadrons (each squadron has 125 missiles) and 7 more are on order whereas the Indian Army ordered two regiments in 2015 (each regiment has 240-288 launchers and 625-750 missiles). Indian army is further planning to order two more regiments.
- DRDO is working on the development of the highly advanced Akash-NG. It has a cylindrical body with four cropped delta fins at mid-body and four tail fins. Second stage air-breathing solid ramjet engine has ditched in favor of lighter dual -pulse solid rocket motor. The new propulsion system will increase the range of the missile to 50km. A New NG variant will significantly bolster the Indian air defense system.
- In 2019 DRDO successfully test-fired the Akash -1S air to surface defense missile. this new version of the missile is fitted with an indigenous seeker. Akash -1S is an upgraded version of the existing Akash missile with an indigenous seeker.