The Indian Army says it will shortly place an order for a number of Akash anti-aircraft missiles to replace its aging Russian SAM-6 Kvadrat air defence missile system.

The Indian DRDO-developed Akash is a mobile, tank-mounted version missile system that includes radars, missile launchers and command centres.

The Akash system, which will be fitted to the army’s T-72 main battle tanks, incorporates a Hyderabad-developed Rajendra phased array radar that can track up to 64 enemy fighter aircraft simultaneously over a radius of 60km.

Akash protects fast-moving tank columns from enemy fighters and can shoot down enemy fighters at ranges as far out as 25km.

The missile system, which was rejected by the military for years over quality doubts, recently underwent a total of nine successful live fire tests.