Air Defense: Akash For The Army


June 23, 2010: The Indian Army has ordered twelve batteries of Akash anti-aircraft missiles. Each Akash battery has three launcher vehicles, a radar vehicle and several support vehicles. Each launcher is self propelled, carrying four missiles, and costs $2.2 million. Each search radar, which can support several batteries, costs $8.7 million. Each battery has a Weapon Guidance radar, which costs $10.9 million each. Each 701 kg/1,543 pound Akash missile has a 60 kg/132 pound warhead, a range of 27 kilometers and can kit targets as high as 15,800 meters/49,000 feet, or as low as 20 meters.

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. India wants to build a version of Akash for use on ships, and is already looking into a longer range (60 kilometers) version.

Akash is the most expensive high tech system ever developed, and put into service, by India's DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization). DRDO has a reputation for delays and poor work. India spent over $250 million developing Akash, a project that began in the early 1980s. Akash had a very troubled development, and there is some doubt about how effective it will be in combat. Time will tell.


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