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India test-fires new-generation Akash missile

The DRDO conducted a successful flight test of the new-generation missile from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha, in mid-January. (Indian Ministry of Defence)

India's state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has test-fired the new-generation Akash (Akash-NG) surface-to-air missile (SAM) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur off India's northeastern coast of Odisha, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a press release in mid-January.

According to the MoD, the flight test was conducted against a “high-speed unmanned aerial target at very low altitude … and the target was successfully intercepted by the weapon system”.

The test has validated the functioning of the complete weapon system consisting of the missile with indigenously developed radio frequency (RF) seeker; launcher; multifunction radar; and command, control, and communication system, the MoD said.

System performance was validated through data captured by a number of radars, telemetry, and electro-optical tracking systems deployed at the ITR, according to the MoD.

“The successful flight test has paved the way for user trials,” the MoD added.

According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery & Air Defence, the Akash-NG is a short-range mobile SAM system with an interception range of up to 50–60 km.

Development of the Akash-NG was approved in late 2016 for an estimated INR5 billion (USD60.3 million). The Akash-NG missile appears similar to the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), but the tailfins more closely resemble those of the Barak long-range air defence (LRAD) missile.

The Akash-NG features a dual-pulse solid-fuel rocket motor in place of the heavier airbreathing ramjet engine used in earlier Akash variants.

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