Akash Missile System

Akash Missile System

GS3- Science and Tech

Why in the news?

India achieved a historic milestone by demonstrating the capability to simultaneously engage four aerial targets at a range of 25 km using a single firing unit through command guidance, making it the first country to do so.

About Akash Missile System

    • The Akash Weapon System (AWS) stands as a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System.
    • It is a product of indigenous design and development by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
    • Showcases India's self-reliance in the design and development of defense technologies.
  • Collaborative Production
    • Involvement of defense public sector units and various industries in the production process.
    • Highlights a collaborative approach to strengthen the nation's defense capabilities.
  • Ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously.
  • Flexibility to operate in Group Mode or Autonomous Mode for enhanced versatility.
  • Incorporates built-in ECCM features.
    • Enhances resilience against electronic countermeasures employed by adversaries.
  • Successfully inducted and operational with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • Also deployed and operational with the Indian Army (IA).
    • Deployment underscores the system's proven reliability.
  • Demonstrates the confidence placed in its capabilities by the armed forces.
  • Contribution to comprehensive air defense capabilities.
  • Strengthens India's ability to safeguard national security interests.
  • Represents a significant advancement in Short Range Surface Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence technology.
  • Positions India as a technologically advanced player in the global defense landscape.

Key Features of Akash Weapon System

  • Operational Range: Range spans from 4.5 km to 25 km, providing a versatile reach against various threats.
  • Operational altitude ranges from 100 m up to 20 km, ensuring effectiveness across different flight profiles.
  • Utilises a Command Guidance system for precise and controlled target engagement.
  • Capable of engaging a range of aerial threats, including helicopters, fighter aircraft, UAVs, and more.
  • Fully automatic functionality with a quick response time from target detection to kill, ensuring rapid and efficient defense.
  • Incorporates an open system architecture, ensuring adaptability to both existing and future Air Defence environments.
  • Exhibits high immunity against both active and passive jamming, enhancing its resilience in electronic warfare scenarios.
  • Ensures a secured mode of communication between combat elements, maintaining confidentiality and reliability.
  • Equipped with in-built power sources, making it self-sufficient in electrical power.
  • Road and rail transportable, providing quick mobilization and deployment capabilities for strategic flexibility.
  • In-built safety features, including Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) technology, enhancing operational safety and effectiveness.

Demonstration of Akash Missile System at Astrashakti 2023

  • The Akash Missile System showcased its formidable capabilities during a demonstration conducted by the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Suryalanka Air Force Station on December 12, as part of the Astrashakti 2023 event. 
  • Astrashakti, meaning the power of weapons, provided the platform for exhibiting the prowess of the Akash Missile System.

Key Highlights of the Demonstration

  • Event Details: The demonstration took place during Astrashakti 2023, underscoring the significance of showcasing cutting-edge weapon systems.
  • Execution of the Demonstration: Two Akash missiles were launched consecutively from separate launchers, illustrating the system's ability to engage multiple targets.
  • Target Assignment: Notably, the same launcher was reassigned to engage the next two targets, showcasing the system's adaptability and efficiency in rapid target acquisition.
  • Simultaneous Engagement: A remarkable aspect of the demonstration was the simultaneous engagement of all four missiles. The system demonstrated its prowess by successfully engaging all four targets within a short span.
  • Extended Range Capability: The Akash Missile System exhibited its extended range capability by engaging targets at a maximum range of around 30 km. This showcased the system's effectiveness in countering threats across a considerable distance.
  • Strategic Significance: The demonstration highlighted the strategic importance of the Akash Missile System in providing a robust defense against multiple and diverse aerial threats.
  • Operational Versatility: The ability to launch multiple missiles from a single launcher and engage different targets reflects the operational versatility of the Akash Missile System.
  • Success in Real-world Scenarios: The successful engagement of all targets in a real-world scenario underscores the reliability and effectiveness of the Akash Missile System.

Importance of India's Defense Industry on the Global Stage

  • Consistent Arms Importer: According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India has held the title of the world's largest arms importer since 1993. Signifies India's commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities through strategic acquisitions.
  • Key Suppliers: Russia has been a significant contributor, supplying 45% of India's arms needs in the last five years. Other notable suppliers include France (29%) and the US (11%).
  • Strategic Export Focus: India is actively working on transforming its defense sector by shifting focus towards promoting defense exports. A strategic move to establish itself as a net exporter rather than solely relying on imports.
  • International Collaboration: The deal with the Philippines in 2022 to export BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles exemplifies India's growing collaboration in the global defence market. Strengthens diplomatic ties and showcases India's capability to provide advanced defense solutions to other nations.
  • Economic Implications: Defense exports contribute significantly to India's economy, fostering growth and generating employment opportunities in the defense industry.
  • Technology Showcase: The successful demonstration of the Akash missile system serves as a technological showcase. Positions India as a reliable source for cutting-edge defense technology and adds credibility to its export initiatives.
  • Diversification of Suppliers: By diversifying its defense suppliers, India reduces dependency on any single country, ensuring strategic autonomy in defense procurement.
  • Global Recognition: Successful exports and demonstrations elevate India's standing in the global defense community. Enhances India's reputation as a key player in the development and export of advanced defense systems.
  • Strategic Diplomacy: Defense exports act as a tool for strategic diplomacy, fostering international partnerships and collaborations.
  • National Security Impact: A strong defense industry, coupled with export capabilities, enhances India's national security by ensuring access to state-of-the-art defense systems.

India's Robust Defense Export Initiatives

  • Private Sector Contribution
    • Approximately 50 Indian companies in the private sector actively participate in defense exports.
    • Highlights the role of private enterprises in bolstering India's defense manufacturing and export capabilities.
  • Diverse Export Destinations
    • Major export destinations include Italy, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Russia, France, Nepal, Mauritius, Israel, Egypt, UAE, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Poland, Spain, Chile, and more.
    • Demonstrates India's global reach and the acceptance of its defense products in various international markets.
  • Substantial Growth in Exports
    • India's defense exports have witnessed a remarkable surge, reaching an all-time high.
    • Increased from Rs. 686 Crore in FY 2013-14 to nearly Rs. 16,000 Crore in FY 2022-23, showcasing a 23-fold increase.
    • Reflects India's substantial progress and competitiveness in the global defense manufacturing sector.
  • Consistent Rise in Recent Years
    • Exports reached Rs. 15,918 crore in FY23, Rs. 12,815 crore in FY22, and Rs. 8,435 crore in FY21.
    • The consecutive rise in defense exports over two years underscores sustained growth and market acceptance.
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat Impact
    • Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives have played a pivotal role in promoting indigenous design, development, and manufacture of defense equipment.
    • Aims to reduce dependency on imports, fostering self-reliance and long-term sustainability.
  • Reduction in Dependency on Imports
    • Expenditure on defense procurement from foreign sources has seen a significant decline.
    • Reduced from 46% of overall expenditure in 2018-19 to 36.7% in December 2022, showcasing a shift towards self-sufficiency.
  • Strategic Economic Impact
    • Defense exports contribute to economic growth and job creation, boosting the overall economy.
    • Strengthens India's position as a key player in the global defense industry.
  • Long-term Vision
    • The focus on indigenous capabilities aligns with a long-term vision of establishing India as a self-reliant and technologically advanced defense manufacturer.
  • Global Recognition
    • India's increasing defense exports garner global recognition and instill confidence in the capabilities of Indian defense products.


India's recent achievements in defense, exemplified by the groundbreaking demonstration of the Akash Missile System and the flourishing defense export initiatives, underscore the nation's rapid progress and growing prominence on the global stage. The successful deployment and export of advanced defense technologies, coupled with a strategic shift towards self-reliance through initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat, reflect India's commitment to fostering a robust and innovative defense sector. The demonstrated capabilities of the Akash Missile System, along with the substantial growth in defense exports and a reduction in dependency on foreign procurement, position India as a key player in international defense collaboration and diplomacy. As India continues to assert itself as a technologically advanced defense manufacturer, it not only contributes significantly to its economic growth but also reinforces its role as a major influencer in the global defense landscape.

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