Wednesday, December 19, 2007

India tests nuclear-capable Akash Missile twice today

India tested its surface-to-air nuclear-capable Akash missile twice on Wednesday from a test range off the east coast, news reports said. Two multi-target missiles, each carrying a live warhead, were test-fired from an offshore range about 230 kilometres from Bhubaneswar, capital of eastern Orissa state, IANS news agency reported quoting defence sources.

This was the fourth time the missile was being tested in a week.

The missiles targeted a flying object dropped from a pilot-less aircraft flown from the test range a few minutes earlier.

The Akash (Hindi for "sky") missile has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization, India's military research wing.

It weighs 650 kilograms, has a range of 25 kilometres and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of 50 kilos. The missile uses an integral rocket propulsion system and has low reaction time.

Akash is part of India's integrated missile development project which includes the intermediate range ballistic missile, Agni, surface-to-surface missile, Prithvi, and the anti-tank missile, Nag.

Akash faced initial development snags and the latest tests are part of fine-tuning before it is inducted into the Indian Air Force, defence sources said.

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