One day after Pakistan's latest air-launched cruise missile test flight, India has sent a pair of SAMs (Surface-to-Air Missiles) skywards from the Indian Army Integrated Test Range site at Chandipur-on-sea.
Both were Akash missiles, with a 25 kilometre range and the ability to be loaded with a 60 kilogram warhead and these were the most up-to-date in a series of same-type missile launches carried out from Chandipur in recent days.
Comparable to the well-established MIM-104 Patriot missile series, the Akash SAM is designed to be ground-launched to counter and overcome aerials threats such as combat jets, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Akash Surface-to-Air Missile
The Akash has a maximum flight altitude of 18 kilometres and a top speed of around Mach 2.5. The use of a ramjet engine means this is a sustained Mach 2.5 and a variety of platforms can be used to launch this surface-to-air missile.
Indian-designed and built, it was progressed throughout the 1990s within the country's IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme). Now in service with both the India Air Force and the Indian Army, 3000 Akashes have been built to date.
Indian Akash Tests
Two Indian Akash test launches were carried out 24 May to ensure the weapon could still perform according to specifications. Now, a further pair has been launched on the same basis, as one military official explained to The Hindu.
"Two Air Force version Akash missiles were test-fired from the ITR in quick succession", he said, adding: "both the trials were successful and met all the mission objectives."
Just hours earlier, Pakistan test flew its Haft-VIII (Ra'ad) cruise missile. This is a long-range missile design with a heavy element of stealth and a high precision strike capability. Intended to fly low, it can be launched from land or sea and can strike targets located up to 350 kilometres away.
Image copyrightFrontier India Defense and Strategic News Service - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Used solely for representational purposes