SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK (INN)
With Government of India asking Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to engage with the French firm MBDA missile systems for the development of short-range surface-to-air missile system (SRAM),Senior serving Indian Air force officials told idrw.org that they are firmly backing DRDO’s Akash Mark-II project, on contrast to governments decision.
Indo-French $6 billion surface-to-air missile systems project has been in doldrums for last Five years. Project was initiated in 2007 and a MoU to co-develop the surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) was signed nearly two years ago but Army has refused to officially comment on the program, While Indian Air-force have officially remarked that it is unwanted Project and is firmly backing DRDO’s Akash Mark-II and Indo-Israeli Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) Project instead .
Sources close to idrw.org in past have pointed out that Akash Mark-II equipped with seekers will not require any ground-control interference and will have Aerodynamic improvements which will improve current range of 25kms found in Akash Mark-I to 35-37kms in its Mark-II avatar, which is too close to 40km Interception range of SRAM missile system which France wants to develop with India,which IAF feels is duplication of work and Inventory.
Akash Mark-II (35km) will bridge the gap between Akash Mark-I (25km) and MRSAM (70km) till planned long-range Surface to air theater defensive system (200km) currently under development by DRDO is ready by turn of this decade . Akash Mark-II Program has 3 years deadline and IAF might have requirements for 8 more Akash squadrons ( Mark-II ) said IAF official.