India today successfully conducted two rounds of trials of its indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash missile as part of a user trial by the air force from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha.
"The sophisticated Akash missile was test fired twice in quick succession from launch complex-3 of ITR at about 11.55am and 12pm," defence sources said.
Describing both the trials as 'fully successful', ITR Director M K V Prasad said the whole exercise was carried out as part of a user trial by the Indian Air Force.
Each missile targeted a toe body supported by Pilot Less Target Aircraft (PTA) 'Lakshya', defence sources said.
"During the trial, each missile aimed at intercepting a toe body supported by a PTA flown a couple of minutes earlier from another launch complex, at a definite altitude over the sea," sources said.
Akash is a medium range surface-to-air anti-aircraft defence system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.
While the Air-force version has already been inducted, the Army version is in the final stage of induction into the armed forces, they said.
The missile has a strike range of 25 km and can carry a warhead of 60 kgs. It has the capability to target aircraft up to 30 km away and is packed with a battery that can track and attack several targets simultaneously, they said.
With the capability to neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles, defence experts compare Akash to the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system of USA.
The missile was last test fired from the same base on February 24, 2014.