Akash (Sky) surface-to-air missile
In the mid-1980s, India began indigenous development of a medium range SAM, the AKASH missile. Planned as a replacement for the SA-6 now in service, AKASH's design is based in large part on the SA-6 configuration. Development was repeatedly delayed with flight tests finally being initiated in late 1990. Akash is a mobile area defense medium-range medium and high altitude surface-to-air missile with a range of 27 to 30 kilometers. It is said to be indigenously developed, though it has a very strong resemblance to the Russian SA-6 GAINFUL. Akash has a multi-target handling capability, and employs a command guidance system with provision for terminal guidance. Powered by a ram rocket propulsion and an air breathing engine, Akash can cut through electronic jamming with its electronic couter-counter measure equipment.
Akash has a launch weight of 720 kg, a diameter of 35 cm and a length of 5.8 meters. It can fly at supersonic speed of around 2.5 Mach and can reach an altitude of 18 kms. It has a capacity to carry 50 kg payload. The missile has a height ceiling of 18,000 meters and is capable of detecting and destroying aircraft flying at tree top height. The missile is supported by multi-target and multi-function phased array fire control radar called 'Rajendra' that has a range of about 60 km.
The missile system's fire control radar is a multi-target and multi-function phased array radar called 'Rajendra' with a range of about 60-km, working in tandem. The radar and the missile can track 64 targets of which four can be engaged simultaneously. The BEL-developed "Rajendra" multi-functional radar system has been integrated with the system. The Akash self propelled launcher (ASPL) and Phased Array Radar have been been developed, though it had yet to enter the production/induction phase by 2005. For training the men and officers in handling Akash, scientists developed simulator of the missile's seeker head in look down role and battery level radar under clutter and jamming environment.
It is a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) undertaken by the Defence Rasearch Development Organisation (DRDO) in 1983. India's IGMDP was launched in July 1983. Initially, it had a budget of around Rs 400 crore, but it has since been revised Rs 800 crore. The major programs under the IGMDP are the development of missiles including Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul and the Nag. The Sagarika and the Surya had since been added to the IGMDP. The first test flight of the Akash missile was conducted in 1990, and since then many development and field trials have taken place. The system had undergone a few tests earlier to gauge proposition parameters and predicted values. By 1998 five flight trials had been conducted. As on July 31, 2007, an amount of Rs. 492.41 crore (5 billion approximately) has already been spent on development of Akash.
In 2003 the Government had not decided to discontinue the Akash Missile Project. The main objective was to develop medium range surface-to-air Missile with a range of 25 km. There had been some technical problems in the sub-systems which had since been rectified. In fact recent flight tests conducted were successful and user trials were planned the following year. Expenditure of Rs. 330.00 crore had been incurred so far on the project.
In a written reply on 10 May 2007, Defence Minister AK Antony told the Lok Sabha that "representatives of the Indian Air Force had participated in the development trials of the Akash Missile System, conducted by the DRDO, as observers and provided user's inputs for improvement in the system's performance. Some trials at the development stage had not been fully successful. User's trials are likely to commence shortly". Regarding the amount of money spent on the missile, he told the Lok Sabha, again in a written reply on August 29 that "as on July 31, 2007, an amount of Rs 492.41 crore" had been spent on the development of the missile.
By late 2007 forty test-fires had been done and nearly Rs 500 crore have been burnt, but the Akash missile was not yet to get the final nod for the skies. Over three days between December 13 and 15, 2007, the medium-range, surface-to-air, nuclear capable missile was test-fired as many times from the Chandipur Integrated Test Range in Orissa, after which scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) were waiting for the Indian Air Force's nod for Akash's induction.
In December 2007 the induction of one squadron of Akash surface-to-air missiles by the Indian Air Force came as a major relief for air defence system planners after the rupees 1800-crore deal with Israel for procuring Spyder missile system came to naught. The one squadron, numbering 18 batteries of the indigenously developed 30-km range missile, helped fill the gap due to the delay in the procurement of the Israeli missile after Indian Defence Ministry asked the Central Vigilance Commission to probe into the deal citing reported irregularities. Indian armed forces had opted for Israeli Spyder missiles, as there was delay in the Akash missile program, which was set to improve the indigenously developed Trishul missile.
On 21 December 2007, the successful conclusion of Akash missile test firing at Chandipur-on -sea gave the Air Force and the Defence Research and Development Organisation a much-needed breakthrough as the IAF had earlier expressed its reservation over the performance of Akash missile system. The missile was deemed ready for production, the Defence Ministry officials stated just after the conclusion of the tests. Although the missile was declared ready for induction after the December 2007 test, some fine-tuning was required and the project was handed over to public and private sector industries for manufacturing the required numbers in May 2008. In a boost to the country's missile development effort, in January 2009 the Indian Air Force finally placed an order with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for two squadrons of medium range, surface-to-air missile Akash. The Rs. 1,200-crore order came 14 months after field trials at Pokhran in Rajasthan. The earlier order given to DRDO of Seven Squadrons of Akash Missiles was reduced to two squadrons, after getting clearance from it, regarding NOC on IAI agreement, because DRDO was under pressure to sell Akash missile.
While public sector undertaking Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) is manufacturing the missiles, the public sector Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is producing the Rajendra phased array radar. Bharat Dynamics Limited is in a position to produce 100 missiles a year. It was contracted to deliver the two squadrons in 36 months. Besides BEL, BDL and Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL), the private sector Larsen and Toubro and Tata Power could be involved in its manufacture. BEL has tied up with Larsen & Toubro, Tata Power, Walchand Industries and ECIL. DRDL, besides transferring technology in the form of documents for production of Akash, will oversee the weapon system integration and provide support throughout the 20-year lifecycle of the missile. In March 2009 the Tata Group's defense arm bagged an order for supplying 16 indigenous Akash surface to air missile (SAM) launchers for the Indian Air Force. The Strategic Electronics Division received the Rs 182 crore order for the launchers.
A squadron has 18 batteries, and the IAF requirement for the Akash type of missile is estimated at five to seven squadrons. A single battery can engage four targets simultaneously. The army has also expressed willingness to accept the Akash, but some modification in the launch platform for better "mobility and gradeability" was being done to meet its requirement. The missile launcher can be ferried to operational areas by rail, road and air and made ready for use within 30 minutes of deployment.
The defense ministry allowed the Army to buy foreign missiles because DRDO's homegrown Akash missile, slated to replace the Russian SA-6 Gainful Kvadrat missile, had been delayed by more than a decade with no completion date in sight. It took more than 20 years to develop the Akash missile system against the target of 12 years, because its development had to be started from scratch. A team of more than 1,000 scientists and 300 public and private companies worked to develop state of art technologies, radars and other systems for the Akash missile. Quick Reaction Missile (QRM)
India Army - Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM)
The Army uses Russian OSA-AK, Kvadrat, Shilka and Tunguska air-defense systems. India had made attempts to upgrade its badly outdated anti-aircraft and missile defenses, which still rely on antiquated Soviet era OSA-AKM [SA-8 Gecko] and ZRK-BD Strela-10M [SA-13 Gopher] SAM systems.
The all-weather, tracked-chassis Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM), intended to defend Army formations operating in plains and semi-desert areas, was required to engage all kinds of targets, including aircraft at altitudes up to 9 kilometers, hovering helicopters, missiles up to 800 meters per second and low-flying targets, including those that suddenly appear at close range. The QRSAM's radar should be able to track while scanning out to 28 kilometers; provide 3-D, 360-degree coverage; recognize identification-friend-or-foe beacons; detect ballistic and cruise missiles; and guide four missiles to separate targets. The 900-meter-per-second missiles should be able to hit targets 12 kilometers out and 6 kilometers up within six seconds of detection. The launchers should be able to operate 24 hours a day, move 150 kilometers a day with¬out refueling and have nuclear-biological-chemical protection.
Defense ministry officials granted permission for a global tender in mid-September 2007, after the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said the Rafael Spyder surface-to-air missile did not meet the Army's mobility requirements. But the Israeli missile remained the Indian Air Force's choice to replace Russian OSA self-propelled anti-aircraft integrated systems. The Indian Army planned to ask for bids to supply 56 Quick Re¬action Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) mobile launcher systems worth more than $1.5 billion. The deal was to include the licensed production in India of more than 4,000 missiles over 20 years. Firms to be invited to bid are likely to include Israel's Rafael, Canada's Oerlikon Contraves, the U.S. Boeing and Raytheon, Russia's KPB Tula and, for the first time, DRDO.
DRDO was working with MBDA of France on a $500 million effort to develop the 35-kilometer Maitri quick-reaction missile, a blend of the French Mica and DRDO Trishul. Design will be carried out at Defence Research and Development Laboratory facilities in Hyderabad. MBDA would develop an active homing head, thrust-vector controls and missiles. DRDL will handle software, command-and-control, and integration.
India Air Force - Low-Level Quick Reaction Missile system (LLQRM)
The Indian Low-Level Quick Reaction Missile system (LLQRM) is an Indian Air Force requirement that should not be confused with the similar Indian Army Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM) requirement, which was supposed to be a joint project with the French. Rafael was competing for India Air Force's Quick Reaction Missile (QRM) and Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) order with the SPYDER-SR (short-range) and SPYDER-MR (medium-range) missile systems.
The Indian Air Force sent a Request for Proposals (RfP) mid-2005 to Russia, France, South Africa, Switzerland, Israel, Poland, and the United Kingdom. The plans to acquire the Spyder were announced in 2006, but were delayed due to allegations of corruption in the Israeli Barak missiles contract with the Indian Navy signed in 2004. But as neither the IAF nor the Navy had adequate missile defence protection, the government was been under pressure to go ahead with the project.
In 2008, Rafael won the Indian order for Low-Level Quick Reaction Missile system (LLQRM), which was competing with the mobile SPYDER (Surface-to-air Python and Derby) short-range air defence system. In August 2008, the Indian Defense Ministry approved a $2.5 billion joint IAI-Rafael Advanced Defense Systems deal to develop a new and advanced version of the Spyder surface-to-air system. In November 2008 the Cabinet Committee on Security cleared the purchase of Spyder low-level quick reaction missiles from the Israeli consortium of IAI and Rafael. A $260 million contract with the Israeli firm Rafael would involve the supply of 18 SPYDER systems, with deliveries running through early 2011 to August 2012.
In late 2008 there was a delay in the procurement of the Israeli missile after Indian Defence Ministry asked the Central Vigilance Commission to probe into the deal, citing reported irregularities.
Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM)
The Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) joint venture [JV] involved Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael teaming up with India's Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Indian Air Force to build medium range surface-to-air missiles (MRSAMs). The deal, worth Rs10,400 crore, would be India's biggest defence JV with a foreign country. The DRDO is a partner in the project, but will get only a third (Rs 3,000 crore) of the Rs 10,000 crore. IAI gets the bulk of it, over Rs 7,000 crore.
DRDO had already developed indigenous air defence systems, such as the Trishul and the Akash. The latter did not fit the bill for the MR-SAM project as its range was only 30 km, while the services had posited the requirement for a missile system with a range of 70 km. MR-SAM systems would be deployed for the security of the National Capital Region as well as for securing nuclear installations across the country.
The Israeli firm IAI was already blacklisted by Government of India,after finding it indulged in commission pay off in Barak Missile Deal in 2000. CBI had lodged FIR against then Indian defence minister, George Fernandes, Former Chief of the Indian Navy, Admiral Sushil Kumar, Suresh Nanda along with his son, Sanjeev Nanda and others regarding defence deal to procure seven Barak systems at a total cost $199.50 million and 200 missiles at a cost of $69.13 million On October 23, 2000. It is alleged that 3.5 percent commission was given to those accused in that earlier deal.
In July 2007 the Cabinet Committee on Security gave the formal clearance for the largest-ever joint venture India has undertaken in the defence sector with any foreign partner. The proposed missile, a new generation Barak missile, was to have around 70-km range. In May 2008 the government formally put on hold India's largest-ever military joint venture with a foreign country - the Rs 10,000 crore effort with Israel to build a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) for the Air Force.
In an unusual development, in August 2008 the Central Vigilance Commission gave the go-ahead for a massive joint venture with two Israeli defence firms that were under investigation for kickbacks in the Barak missile scandal. The CVC clearance for the project - it had been on hold since June 2007 despite approval from the cabinet committee on security - caused some surprise in official circles.
But the Indian Government signed an agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on 27 February 2009 to jointly develop a Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) with DRDO. The UPA government signed Rs10,000 crore defence deal with Israel to purchase medium-range surface-to-air missiles, ignoring the 'Akash' developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization and Bharat Electronics Ltd Akash has a range of 27km, while MRSAM has a range of about 70km.
On 31 March 2009 IAI released an official press statement rejecting the claims that it purposely withheld notification of the deal to the Israel Securities Authority. "Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) does not release general information regarding transactions with its customers, except for such information as is required to be reported by law. Lately, various articles have appeared in the media regarding a large transaction for the sale of weapon systems to the country of a foreign customer, which have included information that is incorrect and biased, and which have originated, apparently, from entities that are trying to harm IAI's business ties with this customer. It was published, among other things, that notification regarding a large transaction for the sale of weapon systems to a foreign customer was delayed until receipt of the advance payment for such transaction, and this on the claim that representatives of that country's government requested that the notification be delayed. IAI's management wishes to make it clear that these claims and articles have no basis in reality and, in any event, have not emanated from IAI."
The MRSAM JV would initially build two regiments of 36 launchers for the IAF. The missile launcher and the command post would be made in India, with the rest of the complex system - including the missile itself - to be made in Israel. IAI will reportedly supply India with 2,000 missiles capable of intercepting enemy aircraft and missiles within a 70-kilometer range. The proposed MRSAM, to replace the old Pechora missiles of the IAF. DRDO would station at least 25 of its scientists in Israel for the project. The first prototype was planned in about two and a half years [around 2011] and the development would be completed in five years from its start.
Nova Integrated Systems, a Tata-IAI joint venture, will be integrating the MRSAM. Several officials in the defence ministry were said to be "baffled" as to how a private-sector firm had been nominated as the integrator for the missile system. In India, all missile systems are integrated in public-sector units, usually Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). DRDO had suggested BDL as the integrator for the MRSAM, with the Israelis supplying the seeker and some radar components, and DRDO making the airframe, servos, and propulsion.
Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM)
There are plans for longer range versions of the missiles, moving in stages to 120 and 350 km. A joint venture similar to the stalled MRSAM is going ahead full-steam- to create a long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) for the Navy. That project is at an advanced stage and government has shown no inclination to stall that JV. Barak-8/NG, MRSAM and LRSAM may be one and the same missile with different names.
Israel and India have agreed to a cooperative program to extend the range of the Barak-8/Barak-NG (Barak-8 is the Israeli Naval Terminology, Barak-NG is the Indian Naval name) naval missile currently in development. This new system is to be a land-based variant with a range at least twice that of the Barak-8/Barak-NG's 70 to 80 km, therefore the new missile is expected to fly at least 150 km. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) representing Israel and the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) representing India were expected to sign a memorandum of agreement early in 2008 as the two primary contractors.
India and Israel agreed to expand their already considerable missile development cooperation with an even longer-range version of their extended-range Barak ship defense system, this time for the Indian Air Force. The countries were expected to sign an add-on development contract by 2008, following the conclusion of the memorandum of agreement between Indian defense research authorities and prime contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). By one account the new land-based air defense system would feature a range of 150 kilometers [other reports state half this, which is more than double that of the supersonic, vertically launched Barak-8, or Barak NG (New Generation) being developed for the Indian Navy].
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