BALASORE (ODISHA): Indian army successfully test fired sophisticated surface-to-air missile (SAM) Akash in a very low altitude near boundary mission from a defence base off the Odisha coast making the weapon system deliverable. Defence sources said the indigenously developed supersonic missile intercepted a small unmanned fast moving aerial vehicle Banshee at 30 meter altitude above sea level proving the system’s capability against subsonic cruise missile. The missile was test fired from the launching complex-III of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea at about 11.15 am. Prior to the launching of the missile, British-made multi-functional target aircraft Banshee was flown from the launching complex-II. This flight trial was last among the validation trials being carried out by Army on the first off production models of Akash supersonic missile. Banshee is an aerial target for surface-to-air and air-to-air weapon systems. The aircraft is designed to float for over water operations recovery. DRDO’s Directorate of Public Interface Director Dr Ravi Kumar Gupta in a release stated that the sophisticated multi-function radar with built in features tracked the low flying target continuously throughout its course. “Special algorithms/techniques developed by DRDO for overcoming the multiple target reflections coming from the sea worked perfectly in the mission. With this flight trial, he Army accomplishes all the validation trials on the first off production models and the system is being delivered for induction,” he added. Congratulating the DRDO teams, production agencies and Army for successful demonstration of intercepting the target in a low altitude near boundary mission, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DRDO Chief Mr Avinash Chander said Akash system has great export potential. “The indigenous development, production and induction of Akash weapon system is a significant contribution to India’s self-reliance in air defence technologies,” he maintained. Akash missile can destroy a target 30 km away. The missile, which has a launch weight of 720 kg, a length of 5.8 metres and a diameter of 35 cm, can carry a pay load up to 50 kg. It can fly at supersonic speed of around 2.5 Mach and can reach an altitude of 18 kms. Akash mobile air defence weapon system has been designed, developed and led to production by DRDO for defending and protecting the important assets of the country from penetrating aerial attacks. It has completed all the development flight tests, user trials and the system is in production for Army and Air Force. The sophisticated technology has been successfully transferred to lead production agencies BEL and BDL. The trial was supervised by Project Director of Akash Mr G Chandramouli and witnessed by Associate Director of LRDE Mr RV Narayana, ITR Director Mr MVKV Prasad, GM of BEL Mr MM Handa, Director (Technical) of BDL Mr NB Singh, Director General of Army Air Defence and other senior Army officials. More than 250 industries are engaged in production and supply of various subsystems/components with military/aerospace grade quality for Akash missile and ground systems. BEL and BDL are engaged in executing the production orders worth more than Rs 20,000 Cr placed by armed forced for the Akash missile systems. In addition, independent orders for 3D-Central acquisition radar, an offshoot of Akash missile system have also been placed by the three services. The Akash missile systems worth Rs 3500 Cr have already been produced and delivered to the services.