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India showcases enhanced capability of Akash weapon system

The Akash Air Force Launcher (pictured above) carries three Akash anti-aircraft surface-to-air missiles on a wheeled tractor-trailer combination. (DRDO)

The Indian Air Force and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have demonstrated the enhanced capability of the Akash semimobile surface-to-air (SAM) missile system to intercept four unmanned aerial targets from a single firing unit, the DRDO said in a social media post on 17 December.

According to the demonstration footage released by the DRDO, the Akash system's central acquisition radar (CAR) – capable of detecting and tracking aerial targets up to a range of 150 km at an altitude of 18,000 m – detected four aerial targets approaching the test site.

The CAR then co-ordinated with the system's Group Control Centre (GCC) through secure communication links, and the GCC deployed two Akash Air Force Launchers (AAFLs) – each seen armed with two missiles in the footage – to intercept the targets.

The AAFLs fired four missiles, which intercepted the aerial targets simultaneously at a distance of 25 km, according to the footage.

β€œIndia became [the] first country to demonstrate the capability of engaging four aerial targets simultaneously at 25 km ranges by command guidance using [a] single firing unit,” the DRDO said.

According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery & Air Defence, Akash is a medium-range SAM system designed to cover a large amount of airspace and provide protection from various missile threats.

An Akash firing battery consists of four launchers (three Akash anti-aircraft SAM missiles per launcher vehicle), GCC, CAR, battery control centre, battery level radar (a phased-array tracking and guidance 3D sensor), battery surveillance radar (2D sensor), and support vehicles (power supply, missile transport, and engineering support).

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