Impressed IAF in talks for more Akash Squadrons

By SP's Special Correspondent

March 07, 2015: Highly impressed with the indigenous missile system. the Indian Air Force is in discussions to acquire more squadrons of the Akash SAM system. It is not clear at what stage discussions are or what the number of additional squadrons under discussion are, though the very fact that the IAF has begun discussions before deliveries of its eight squadrons are complete is a positive indicator of customer confidence in the weapon system. Following operational firing tests in November last year, the IAF's faith in the system has topped out, spurring confidence in the DRDO and manufacturing agencies BDL & BEL to pitch larger numbers. The DRDO is also working on an extended range Akash Mk.2 system that the IAF has already expressed interest in. While the Akash Mk.1 sports a 25-km range, the Mk.2 is likely to have a range of 35-40 km. The total production orders placed by IAF and Indian Army for the Akash missile system roughly amounts to Rs 23,000 crore. Missile systems worth nearly Rs 5,000 crore have already been delivered to the services. The system is under production at Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore for 8 squadrons for the IAF. 2 regiments of the Army version are under production at Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad. The missiles and missile related equipment are produced by BDL. Radars and radar related equipments (for both IAF and Army) are produced by BEL.