Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Dec 11, 2005
Google



National
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |

National Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Akash missile achieves a milestone

T.S. Subramanian

The surface-to-air missile integrated command, control and communication systems Using ram-jet propulsion, the missile thrusts all the way till it meets the target without losing speed

CHENNAI: December 7 is seen as a milestone in India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme. Akash, a surface-to-air missile, made its 50th flight, integrating, for the first time, command, control and communication systems, said Prahlada, Director, Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad.

He called the launch "an important development" and "good news." The Army and the Air Force, which will use Akash, wanted the missile to integrate these functions. "So a lot of effort went into this automated command, control and communication mode," he said. The DRDL is responsible for designing Akash.

The flight took place from the Interim Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea in Orissa from a mobile launcher. It destroyed a Pilotless Target Aircraft. The mission met all its objectives.

The previous flight of Akash on December 3 did not take place in a mode that integrated the three systems. It was an "interim step" which led to the "pinnacle" on December 7, said Mr. Prahlada.

Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile. It has a launch weight of 720 kg, a diameter of 35 cm and a length of 5.8 metres. It has a range of 25 km. Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching a maximum of 2.5 Mach (2.5 times the speed of sound). It can reach an altitude of 18 km. Its warhead weighs 55 kg. While the missile meant for the Army can be launched from tracked vehicles such as battle tanks, the Air Force version can take off from wheeled vehicles. Three ready-to-fire Akash missiles can be carried in a battle tank. The missiles can take off in different directions and destroy multiple targets. Akash can be deployed by rail, road or air.

Mr. Prahlada said Akash had three unique features. First, it can engage multiple targets. A single battery can simultaneously engage four targets. Second, by using ram-jet propulsion, it thrusts all the way till it meets the target. "The speed will never drop. So you are able to maintain superiority over the target. Even the Patriot missile does not have ram-jet propulsion. The Patriot missile, after its boost phase, keeps decelerating but Akash does not decelerate," he said. There will be more flights of Akash to fine-tune the requirements of the Army and the Air Force.

Trishul's performance

Trishul, another surface-to-air missile launched on December 8, did not perform well. DRDO sources said there was "a deviation in the trajectory" of the missile, but were reluctant to call it a failure. The development of Trishul, meant for the armed forces, has been plagued with problems. Sources said developing a missile for all three services was an ambitious programme and entailed development of several complex technologies.

DRDO's missile engineers were puzzled by the behaviour of the Trishul flight on December 8 because they had a series of successful flights in 2003 and 2004. There were problems with Trishul's propulsion and guidance systems in many of its flights. Trishul has been launched more than 70 times.

Agni, Akash, Trishul, Prithvi and Nag are the missiles that constitute India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



National

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2005, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu