The Indian Army Air Defence Corps has formally inducted the indigenously built Akash supersonic missile during a ceremony at the Manekshaw Centre in Delhi, India.
The induction comes more than three decades after the project was initiated in the mid-1980s, and is expected to boost the all round capability enhancement and operational effectiveness of the army to meet all the contemporary and emerging challenges of negating the enemy's air threat.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and Bharat Electronic Limited as part of the integrated guided missile development programme, the Akash missile is an all-weather surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aerial threats up to a distance of 25km.
Equipped with a launcher, control centre, multi-function fire control radar and supporting ground equipment, the 5.78m-long missile can destroy manoeuvring targets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, fighter aircraft, cruise missiles, and other ballistic missiles launched from helicopters.
Indian Army chief general Dalbir Singh said: "The capability that we have with this system will ensure that it takes care of the vulnerability of our assets.
"Akash is a step towards self-realisation of indigenisation."
Singh also stated that the army was in the process of reinventing the command and control and battlefield management system of the army Air Defence.
Unnamed Indian defence sources claimed that the first full regiment is scheduled to be complete between June and July, while the second will enter service with the army by end of 2016.
Capable of reaching speeds of 2.5Ma, the 96% indigenous surface-to-air supersonic missile has already been inducted by the Indian Air Force in March 2012.
Image: India's indigenously built Akash supersonic missile being launched. Photo: courtesy of Defence Research and Development Organisation.