Akash missileThe Indian Army’s domestically-developed surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile, Akash, failed to intercept the target during a re-validation trial conducted at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Balasore in Orissa this week.

According to The Hindu, the missile failed to hit the target, a pilotless target aircraft (PTA), Lakshya, which was flying at a definite altitude over the Bay of Bengal.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials told the test data would be validated in an effort to find the reasons for the failure.

With logistic support provided by the ITR, the trials were conducted for the second time in order to re-validate the technology and operational efficacy of the missile, the officials added.

"These are routine post-induction flight-trials," a source said. "They went off well on Thursday. The missile is tested in actual conditions as far as possible."

Akash, which has already been inducted into the Indian armed forces, was successfully test-fired by the army from the same test range on 24 May, and is scheduled to undergo three additional trials before the end of this month.

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“These are routine post-induction flight-trials. They went off well on Thursday. The missile is tested in actual conditions as far as possible."

The nuclear capable Akash missile is an all-weather missile system, developed as part of the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP) by DRDO and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), to help provide multi-directional and multi-target area defence capabilities.

The 5.78m-long missile features a launcher, control centre, multi-function fire control radar and supporting ground equipment, 2.5 mach speed and 720kg launch weight.

Considered as the Indian MIM-104 Patriot missile system equivalent, the Akash can simultaneously track and attack several targets by using Rajendra, a DRDO-developed multi-target and multi-function phased array fire control radar.

The missile is also capable of destroying manoeuvring targets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter aircraft, cruise missiles, as well as other ballistic missiles launched from helicopters.

Image: Akash fails to intercept the target during re-validation trials. Photo: courtesy of Frontier India Defence and Strategic News Service.