Akash Prime: Surface to Air Missile System

Akash Prime: Surface to Air Missile System



The Akash missile, a short to medium-range Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system, is produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), this missile serves the critical purpose of safeguarding areas vulnerable to aerial attacks. With Electronic Counter-CounterMeasures (ECCM) features integrated, the entire system configuration of the weapon system is designed for deployment on mobile platforms.

The Indian Air Force formally inducted the Akash Missile in May 2008, while the Indian Army followed suit on May 5, 2015. The development of this project incurred a cost of Rs. 1000 crore, which included a project sanction of Rs. 600 crore. Noteworthy features of the Akash missile encompass its exceptional mobility, capacity for handling multiple targets, digitally commanded guidance, and fully automatic operations. This missile system represents a crucial asset in India's defense arsenal, combining technological sophistication with adaptability for enhanced operational capabilities.

History of Akash Missile System:

  • Mark-I: In 1990, the inaugural test flight of the Akash missile, Mark-I, witnessed the successful interception of two fast-moving targets in simultaneous engagement mode by 2005.
  • Akash-1S: Responding to the Indian Armed Forces' demand for enhanced target destruction capabilities, DRDO introduced the Akash-1S. Tested on May 25 and May 27, 2019, it featured a 30 km strike range and the ability to carry a 60 kg warhead. Capable of engaging fighter jets and drones within a range of 18 to 30 km, it showcased adaptability by being deployable from both tracked and wheeled platforms.
  • Akash Prime: Following Akash-1S, the Akash Prime underwent a test launch on September 27, 2021, demonstrating its capability to intercept and destroy an unmanned mimicking aircraft aerially. Equipped with active radio frequencies to enhance accuracy, it is specifically designed for operations in low temperatures and high altitudes.
  • Akash-NG: Recognized as a successor missile, Akash-NG received approval in September 2016 along with funding of ₹470 crores. With a newly implemented design, it boasts an improved reaction time and provides a high level of protection against aerial attacks, reflecting a commitment to technological advancement in the Akash Missile System.

What is Akash Surface to air Missile

The Akash Missile System is distinguished by its advanced features and technological capabilities. Equipped with an indigenous active RF (Radio Frequency) seeker, it achieves heightened accuracy, while also demonstrating improved reliability in low-temperature environments at higher altitudes. The system is a product of the collaborative efforts of the Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) in Hyderabad, operating within the framework of the Missiles and Strategic Systems (MSS).

The key features of the Akash Surface-to-air Missile System are:

  • Advanced Seeker Technology: Equipped with an indigenous active RF (Radio Frequency) seeker for enhanced accuracy.
  • Enhanced Reliability: Demonstrates improved reliability in low-temperature environments at higher altitudes.
  • Development and Production:
      1. Developed by the Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad.
      2. Collaboration with other DRDO laboratories falls under the Missiles and Strategic Systems (MSS) framework.
  • Missile Overview:
      1. India's first indigenously produced medium-range Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM).
      2. Capable of engaging multiple targets from various directions.
      3. Deployable from mobile platforms like battle tanks and wheeled trucks, boasting a 90% kill probability.
  • Development History: Initiated under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme in the late 1980s.
  • Operational Capabilities:
      1. Simultaneously engages multiple targets in both group and autonomous modes.
      2. Features Electronic Counter-CounterMeasures (ECCM) for countering electronic deception.
  • Supporting Systems:
      1. Supported by the indigenously developed 'Rajendra' radar.
      2. Operates at a speed 2.5 times faster than the speed of sound.
  • Cost-Effectiveness and Accuracy:
    1. Reportedly cheaper and more accurate than the US' Patriot missiles.
    2. Attributes its performance to solid-fuel technology and high-tech radars.

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO)

  • The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) serves as the research and development arm of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, aiming to equip the nation with state-of-the-art defence technologies.
  • Its establishment in 1958 resulted from the amalgamation of the Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO).
  • DRDO's overarching vision is to empower India by pioneering advancements in defence technologies, reflecting its pivotal role in the country's security and technological capabilities.

Target Areas for the Akash Missile System:

  • Launch Range:
      • Capable of launching targets on aircraft up to 30 km (19 mi) away.
  • Aerial Targets:
      • Effectively neutralizes various aerial threats, including:
        • Air-to-surface missiles
        • Fighter jets
        • Cruise missiles, among others.
  • Kill Probability:
      • Demonstrates a nearly 90% kill probability, showcasing its efficacy in target engagement.
  • Sequential Kill Probability:
    • Upon firing the first missile of the Akash system, there is an 88% kill probability.
    • The probability increases to an impressive 99% for the second missile fired, highlighting its reliability and precision in successive engagements.

Deployment of the Akash Missile System:

    • Indian Air Force Bases:
      • The Indian Air Force (IAF) strategically deploys the Akash missile system at its bases located in:
        • Tezpur
        • Jorhat
        • Pune
        • Gwalior
        • Jalpaiguri
  • Border Deployments:
      • The Indian Army has extended the deployment of the Akash missile system along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
      • This deployment aligns with heightened tensions between India and China along the borders.
  • Strategic Significance:
      • The deployment of the Akash missile system holds strategic importance in bolstering air defense capabilities at key military installations and border regions.
  • Examination Relevance:
    • Recognizing its significance, the Akash missile system often becomes a focal point in the current affairs section of important examinations, including those for IAS.
    • Aspirants preparing for such examinations are advised to study the Akash missile system meticulously to stay well-informed on contemporary geopolitical developments.


India's successful demonstration of the Akash missile system's capability to engage multiple aerial targets simultaneously represents a noteworthy milestone in the nation's defense capabilities. Beyond showcasing technological prowess, this achievement underscores India's steadfast commitment to advancing indigenous defense systems. By consistently pushing the boundaries of innovation, India contributes to the global landscape of defense solutions, solidifying its position as a key player in the realm of military technology. This accomplishment reflects a strategic leap forward, reaffirming India's dedication to maintaining a robust and cutting-edge defense infrastructure.

Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP)

The Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) was conceived by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, with an aim to establish India's self-sufficiency in the realm of missile technology. The program, denoted by the acronym P-A-T-N-A, yielded five distinct missiles, each serving specialized purposes:

  • Prithvi: A short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
  • Agni: A series of ballistic missiles characterized by varying ranges, encompassing Agni (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
  • Trishul: A short-range, low-level surface-to-air missile.
  • Nag: A third-generation anti-tank missile.
  • Akash: A medium-range surface-to-air missile.


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