India on Monday announced that it successfully test-fired the Akash-NG (new generation) surface-to-air missile for the first time off the Odisha coast.
Akash-NG missile has been designed to strike low radar cross-section aerial targets. It weighs only half of the existing Akash missile and requires fewer ground systems, officials familiar with the project said.
The existing Akash missile has a range of 25 km, while the upgraded variant (NG) can strike targets at a distance of 30 km, officials said.
“Akash-NG is a new generation surface-to-air missile meant for use by Indian Air Force with an aim of intercepting high maneuvering low radar cross-section aerial threats,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
The weapon was tested by the Defence Research and Development Organization.
The missile intercepted the target with precision, officials said. “The launch met all the test objectives by performing high maneuvers during the trajectory. The performance of the command and control systems, onboard avionics and aerodynamic configuration of the missile was successfully validated during the trial,” statement said.
The Akash-NG system has been developed with better deplorability compared to other similar systems with saniterized launcher and much smaller ground system footprint, it added.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on December 30 gave its go-ahead to the sale of Akash surface-to-air missile systems to friendly foreign countries and created a high-powered panel for swifter approval to export of military hardware at a time India has set a target of clocking defence exports worth $5 billion by 2024.
The missile — already in service in the Indian military — has an indigenous content of 96%. The missile was inducted into the Indian Air Force in 2014 and in the army a year later.0