Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Larsen & Toubro has jointly delivered 100th Akash Missile Launcher to the Indian Air Force on Tuesday, 21 June 2022. Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile defence system designed by the Defence Research And Development Organization.
According to the statement of Sukaran Singh, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Tata Advanced Systems Limited, “the successful delivery of 100th AAFL is a major milestone for TASL and the Indian defence manufacturing sector, and marks the successful establishment of serial production after completing product development. The repeat order of AAFL being executed shows the User’s continued satisfaction and confidence in the operational performance of the indigenously developed and produced AAFL system.”
Akash Air Force Launcher (AAFL) is a multi-technology Weapon Launch Platform for Air Defence Missiles, jointly developed under the IGMDP Programme of DRDO by TASL and L&T and produced collaboratively. AAFL is a Mobile Launcher System capable of transporting and launching up to three Akash Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles in Single or Salvo Mode. AAFL comprises a self-powered and fully automated Electro-Mechanical Launching System mounted on a trailer and towed by a prime mover. It is a fully ruggedized all-weather day and night system capable of operating in harsh environmental and terrain conditions.
Jayant Patil, the whole time director of Defence & Smart Technologies, L&T said, “L&T has remained singularly focused on offering indigenously designed, developed and manufactured Defence systems to our Armed Forces. Delivery of the 100th AAFL system, a major milestone toward the iconic Akash missile programme epitomizes the contribution made by the Indian industry toward the Vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. He also added that “this milestone is testimony to the core strengths of innovation, adaptability, commitment and hard work by the Indian Industry teaming up in a public-private partnership to deliver a force-multiplying Akash Air Defence system to the Indian Air Force”.
About the Akash Missile Defense System
Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile launching system designed by DRDO and produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited. The Surveillance and Fire control radar, tactical control and command center and missile launcher of the Akash Missile System are jointly developed by Bharat Electronics (BEL), Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division and Larsen & Toubro.
Each Akash air defense system consists of four launchers, one guidance radar and one control center or command post. And each Indian air force squadron contains 8 Launchers and 125 missiles.
The Akash Missile System has the capability of eliminating aerial threats such as fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles as well as ballistic missiles. It is in operational service with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. The Missile System is in service with with the Indian Armed Forces since 2009. The Akash system is fully mobile and capable of protecting a moving convoy of vehicles.
The launch platform has been integrated with both wheeled and tracked vehicles. While the Akash system has primarily been designed as an air defence SAM, it also has been tested in a missile defense role. The system provides air defence missile coverage for an area of 2,000 km2 (770 sq mi).
Akash Missile System has been developed into three main variants, Akash 1S, Akash Prime and Akash-NG. The Akash-NG is the latest version of this system and is scheduled to be inducted in the Indian Air Force by 2023. They new version features some major improvements such as a dual-pulse solid rocket motor, a canisterised launcher and an AESA Multifunction targeting radar to improve its probability of kill, it also has a longer range of 70 kilometers.
The normal Akash Missile has the weight of 720 kg and a range of 35 km. The missile is equipped with a 60 kg High explosive and fragmentation warhead. The weapon is powered by a solid booster with air-augmented rocket and ramjet sustainer motor which generates the maximum speed of Mach 2.5. The missile is capable of flying at the altitude of 18 km (59,000 ft).