The Indian Army has test-fired the indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash supersonic missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore, Odisha, India.
During the trial, the domestically built, medium-range anti-aircraft missile successfully intercepted a small and fast-moving unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), designated as Banshee.
According to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials, the test evaluated the system’s capability against subsonic cruise missiles.
An unnamed DRDO official was quoted by New Indian Express as saying: "It is a useful weapon for both the army and air force and first successful model of the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative. The armed forces are scheduled to carry out a couple of more tests in next few days."
Developed by the DRDO and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) as part of the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP), the nuclear-capable Akash missile is an all-weather missile system capable of engaging aerial threats up to a distance of 25km.
The 5.78m-long missile features a launcher, control centre, multi-function fire control radar and supporting ground equipment, and can destroy manoeuvring targets, such as UAVs, fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and other ballistic missiles launched from helicopters.
Designed to carry a 60kg warhead, the missile is powered by a Ramjet-rocket propulsion system, and can reach speeds up to 2.5 Mach speed.
Akash was inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2012, followed by Indian Army in 2015.
The Indian Ministry of Defence is reportedly considering foreign military sales with the latest development.