November 22, 2014 Livefist
Smashing week for India's Akash SAM. Not that it needed any more of a push. But what a week.
This image from noon on Friday is the first one out from this week's training user trials of the Akash SAM conducted by the Indian Air Force at the Integrated Test Range (Nov 17-21). This particular test on Friday at 12.10pm involved a quick succession salvo test in which the two SAMs in the picture were fired at Meggitt Defence Systems Banshee Jet 80 aerial targeting drones.
The New Indian Express quotes a source as saying, "While the first missile successfully destroyed a fast moving aerial target at a low altitude, the second missile had a direct hit with the unmanned aerial target Banshee Jet 80 nearly 4-km away at 35 meter altitude above sea level proving the system’s capability against subsonic cruise missile." (While this is largely what I hear from my sources too, I'm picking up that that the range was more out to about 8-km in the low-altitude engagement and about 24-km for the second missile).
Starting Monday, a random selection of production series Akash missiles (from Bharat Dynamics Ltd) were fired at a series of targets ranging from para barrels, flare targets and on two occasions the Banshee Jet 80 drone. The series of tests is being described as the most successful so far (similar tests in April and June went well too though).
The Akash SAM has been in service for over two years now. This weeks training user trials have proven once again the system's maturity. Orders worth $3.7 billion have so far been placed by the IAF and Army (eight IAF squadrons and two regiments) on the Akash SAM system, and there will be more.