The DRDO has successfully test-fired the new version of the Akash surface-to-air defence missile system with a new indigenously-developed seeker in Balasore off the Odisha coast. This is the second successful test of the missile. The medium range multi-target engagement capable missile was developed as part of the Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) other than Nag, Agni, Trishul, and Prithvi missiles.
- The supersonic missile has a range of around 25 km and up to the altitude of 18,000 metres.
- The missile uses high-energy solid propellant for the booster and ramjet-rocket propulsion for the sustainer phase. The missile system is said to be highly mobile.
- Several variants of the missile — Akash MK1, Akash-MK2 — with improved accuracy and higher ranges are under development by the DRDO.
- The missile system was formally inducted into the IAF on July 10, 2015, and in the Army on May 5, 2015. In September that year, the Defence Acquisition Council cleared seven additional squadrons of the missile for the IAF.
- However, it had been bogged in controversies with a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report in 2017 stating that 30% of the missiles failed when tested.
- The Army too had said in 2017 that the missile did not meet its operational requirements due to higher reaction time.
- India is slowly plugging the holes in its air defence elements by developing the advanced surface-to-air missile named MRSAM — Medium Range Surface to Air Missile in collaboration with Israel.
- Besides that, five regiments of the renowned S-400 air defence system are under procurement from Russia. The delivery is slated to begin in 2020.