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India looks forward to induct nuclear capable Akash missile in IAF

India is looking forward to induct the indigenously developed surface-to-air nuclear capable ‘Akash’ missile into the Indian Air Force (IAF), as only few tests are left to be carried out before the final decision is taken on it.
On Saturday, the ‘Akash’ missile was successfully test fired, for the third consecutive day, from Integrated Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea, about 15 km from here.
In the second week of November, field trials of Akash were also conducted in the deserts of Rajasthan that had impressed the top officials of the IAF, according to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The medium range missile with a range of between 27 to 30 kms has yet to be inducted by the IAF, and there were media reports earlier claiming that the IAF’s top brass were not satisfied with the missile system, as they found instances when parts of missiles fell from the main body.
The recent field trials have put to rest such kinds of speculations.
In August this year, answering to a question in Lok Sabha, Defence Minister A K Antony clarified that the IAF has not declined the induction of Akash missile.
Development of Akash missile is a part of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), and the missile system was expected to be inducted by the Indian Army and the Air Force by 2003.
As on July 31, 2007, an amount of Rs. 492.41 crore (5 billion approximately) has already been spent on development of Akash, which has a launch weight of 720 kg, a diameter of 35 cm and a length of 5.8 metres.
It can fly at supersonic speed of around 2.5 Mach and can reach an altitude of 18 kms.
The missile is supported by multi-target and multi-function phased array fire control radar called ‘Rajendra’ that has a range of about 60 km.
The first test flight of the missile was conducted in 1990, and since then many development and field trials have taken place

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