Friday, April 25, 2014

Akash Missile Test Failure Exposes Limitations? Maybe Not


Akash Missile Test on February 24, 2014. Photo Credit: DRDO

An official at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha told the New Indian Express on Thursday, April 24, 2014 that the Akash missile test on April 23 by IAF personnel failed.

"The missile was to destroy the PTA at an altitude of nearly 2-km as per the pre-designated coordination. But the mission failed as the weapon could not destroy the target. Though it attained the desired altitude, it failed to pass through missed-distance proximity," said the official.

The proximity fuse of the missile can be variously set to explode within 10, 20 or 100 meters of the missile, according to the official.

Earlier in February 2014, DROD conducted a series of successful tests on the production models of the Akash being delivered to the Indian Army to equip two regiments. During the first test was on February 21, 2014 the missile successfully intercepted an approaching target being towed by a Laskhya PTA. In the second test on February 24, 2014, the missile scored a hit  on a receding target towed by a Lakshya PTA. A third test was carried out on February 26, 2014.

Following the February tests, DRDO said in a press release that mission objectives had been met. A "few more trials are planned in different engagement modes."

It is possible that the Thursday failure of the missile occurred during an engagement mode other than approaching or receding.

According to the DRDO, the fully-automated Akash has an 88% kill probability within a specified kill zone. In other words, if the PTA aircraft was maneuvering a single miss would not be alarming. If the PTA was not maneuvering the failure would certainly be disturbing.

Two more tests of the missile are reportedly planned as a part of the current series. If the failure on Wednesday was out of the ordinary, we could see an cancellation of the upcoming tests.

IDP Sentinel members can peruse additional information on the Akash at the link below.

Akash Missile (IDP Sentinel)