Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Akash set for induction in defence forces: DRDO official

Akash, an indigenously developed medium-range surface-to-air missile system, has successfully completed test trials and is all set for induction into the defence forces, a top scientist of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said today.
"We expect the clearance from Defence Acquisition Council in a couple of months. Once we get the go-ahead, the production will commence and the first set of missile systems will be delivered in three years time," Chief Controller, R&D, DRDO, Prahlada told reporters here.

The Indian Air Force has already initiated the process, while the Army was expected to move the file soon, he said.

The DRDO, which has developed the state-of-the-art multi-directional and multi-target missile with a range of 25 kms, is hopeful of getting Rs 5,000 crore worth business over the next years from Air Force and the Army.

"After conducting seven successful flight tests for accurate guidance and consistent performance, we have conclusively demonstrated that Akash meets all the requirements. We are ready for production," he said.

Along with Bharat Electronics and Bharat Dynamics Ltd, several private organisations would be involved in production of the missiles.

"Once we get the go-ahead, the first two squadrons of missile systems will be delivered in three years and the subsequent systems will be upgraded depending on the requirement of the users," Prahlada said.

Conceived in 1984 by former President A P J Abdul Kalam when he was the head of DRDO, the Akash project was originally scheduled for completion in 12 years but it took 21 years to come to fruition. PTI

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