February 5, 2010: A year after ordering 16 Akash anti-aircraft missile launchers for the military, India has ordered 750 of the missiles. Each launcher is self propelled, carrying four missiles, costs $2.2 million and will be delivered by early 2012. India plans to buy 3,000 Akash missiles over the next two decades.
Akash is modeled on the older, but successful, Russian SA-6 system, and is meant to replace some very old Russian air defense systems India is still using. Each 1,543 pound Akash missile has a 132 pound warhead, a range of 27 kilometers and can kit targets as high as 49,000 feet, or as low as 66 feet. Each Akash battery has three launcher vehicles, a radar vehicle and several support vehicles.
India wants to build a version of Akash for use on ships, and is already looking into a longer range (60 kilometers) version. India spent over $250 million developing Akash, a project that began in the early 1980s.