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Akash may spoil DRDO party

The Indian Army's stance on the induction of the Akash missile could well prove to be a dampener, reports Jatin Gandhi.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2008 02:18 IST
Jatin Gandhi

On the eve of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) the Indian Army's stance on the induction of the Akash missile could well prove to be a dampener.

The Army said that whether Akash will be inducted or not is still under consideration because the missile system “doesn't meet the requirements of the Army's air defence modernisation plans”.

DRDO officials said in New Delhi on Tuesday that the organisation completed the Integrated Guided Missile Defence Programme (that includes Akash, Agni, Trishul and Nag missiles) in December 2007 ? 20 years after it was launched. The project initially aimed at completion in 12 years. “It took longer than expected because we built every nut and bolt here and from scratch,” Dr S Prahalada, Chief Controller Research and Development (Akash Missile System), said.

Meanwhile, Army authorities say that the AMS project, that by the DRDO's own admission is eight years behind schedule, has already delayed the Army's air defence modernisation plans. To the Army now wants induct Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) systems to replace the Russian origin Kvadrat Surface to Air missile system. “We rejected it earlier and we have not cleared the Akash yet. It doesn't meet all our requirements,” an Army official said.