Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Akash, surface-to-air missile, gets a boost in production

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  The production of supersonic surface-to-air
missile, Akash, got a boost with the Union Minister of State for
Defence, Mr MM Pallam Raju, laying the foundation stone on Friday for
the missile facility at the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) unit at
Bhanur in Medak district.

The Indian Army plans to induct a large number of Akash missiles to
increase the defence cover. Recently, the Army signed a contract with
the BDL for mass production of Akash missiles, which can intercept and
hit targets flying up to 30 km. The BDL is setting up exclusive
facility at its Bhanur unit to produce the missiles. The BDL will
supply Akash missiles worth Rs 14,000 crore to the Indian Army.

The minister called upon the BDL to speed up the production and meet
the demand of the Army. BDL has units in the city and Visakhapatnam
too. However, the facility at Bhanur would cater to the requirement of
supply of Akash to the Armed Forces.

The missile is capable of carrying fragmentation warhead, which is
triggered by radio proximity fuse. It uses state-of-technology
integral ramjet rocket propulsion system and the onboard digital
autopilot ensures stability and maneuvers. The multi function phased
array radar tracks the targets and guides missiles towards them. The
weapon system has a network of radar sensors to effectively manage the
air threats.

It is specialized for multidirectional and multi-target engagement and
is fully automated in operation. Akash can target fighter aircraft,
unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, and even cruise missiles. The
missile is programmed for all-weather operation and all terrain
mobility.

BDL senior officials appraised the minister about various activities
of the unit. Mr Pallam Raju expressed happiness about the progress
being made by BDL, but underlined the need for timely delivery of
products to the Armed Forces.

Maj Gen Ravi Khetarpal, chairman and managing director, BDL, stated
that setting up the facilities for Akash is one of the steps forward
in the company's expansion plans.

Mr PK Mishra, joint secretary (missile systems), Ministry of Defence,
congratulated all the employees on the occasion.

Mr L Dhananjaya, executive director (Bhanur Group), called the event
"historic" for the company. Mr SN Mantha, director  (Technical), Air
Vice Marshal PK Srivastava, Director (Production),  Mr M Eshwar, chief
vigilance officer, Mr P Madhava Rao, ED (SAM), Dr NK Raju, ED (P&A),
and Mr T Nandeshwar Goud, legislator, Patancheru,  were also  present
on the occasion.

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