Akash Surface-to-air Missile

Immanuel

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The higher the speed, less maneuverable the craft is. Mig-25's of IAF with a top speed of close to 3 mach also made it difficult for SAMs to target them.

Akash is a Shorad/SR-SAM anything will be able to outrun it, it will be used to take out drones, choppers, very low flying crafts(PAF's attack crafts for eg), CMs etc.
The Akash can easily shoot down all PLAAF and PAF aircraft without any issues, firstly because the missile has little or no warning to the incoming target and the energy the Akash can maintain throughout its flight should allow it to take out a wide variety of targets.
 

Immanuel

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Technically the max effective range of Akash mk-1 is easily 40km at mach 3.5, since when did we start advertising the exact range in the media? DRDO never really claims the exact range and it is always understated.
Akash mk-2 should easily get to 60km. Both missiles can easily takeout most of the aircraft in PLAAF and PAF.

For longer range we will have MR -SAM
 

Archer

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Akash is a Shorad/SR-SAM anything will be able to outrun it, it will be used to take out drones, choppers, very low flying crafts(PAF's attack crafts for eg), CMs etc.
Akash goes upto 15km as far as I remember. "Anything" will not be able to outrun it. Most fighters - bar the F-22 and MiG-31 - are barely able to sustain medium supersonic speeds (between M1 and M1.5) with payload. Apart from the above two types, pretty much no fighter in the world today, routinely goes above 2M in combat missions. Even the F-15 with a claimed top speed of around 2.5M doesn't pull that in realworld conditions. Point is, unless its a very high flying, very fast aircraft able to sustain that speed (eg F-22 and MiG-31 have a fuel fraction able to range at high speed), pretty much every other plane out there is vulnerable to the Akash.

If they drop all their munitions and payload to get that bit of extra speed out from the airframe and reverse course, then thats a mission kill & Akash again did its job.
 

Armand2REP

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It is uncanny how much it looks like the Kub missile.
 

Payeng

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I wont disagree it is similar in fuselage with the SA-6 same layout and even the wing design, Russians/Soviet have modified the SA-6 nose and airduct from its initial design and even the innovative design of the solid rocket chamber used as a combustion chamber for its ram jet motor which the Russian have pioneered have been seen both in Akash and BrahMos. Their are probabilities that the Russian/Soviet might have shared the aerodynamic configuration of the aircraft and technical assistance offered but Seeker head technology, rocket science and radar science seems to be in house development or at least as they claim to be. But definitely it have a high resemblance with SA-6, at least externally.

Well Akash do not have a seeker head :/
 

Armand2REP

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I still think it is India's attempt to copy it. They don't clone like the Chinese do, but like other nations pull the concepts.
 

Payeng

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Maybe the Soviets helped India with their aerodynamic know how to design her own SAM.
 

SPIEZ

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Well AKASH being an accelerating missile instead of coasting, the speed of the missile will keep on increasing. So, if mach 2.2 is the highest speed only at it's end. There is a very good probability that the avg speed of the missile can only mach 1
 

Payeng

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I think an average of Mach 1 defeats the purpose of using a ramjet propulsion. Note that ramjet are known to be poor performer in sub sonic and trans sonic speed.
 

SPIEZ

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I think an average of Mach 1 defeats the purpose of using a ramjet propulsion. Note that ramjet are known to be poor performer in sub sonic and trans sonic speed.
It wont be flying in a subsonic speed, it has no use flying ina sub sonic speed
 

sayareakd

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Well AKASH being an accelerating missile instead of coasting, the speed of the missile will keep on increasing. So, if mach 2.2 is the highest speed only at it's end. There is a very good probability that the avg speed of the missile can only mach 1
:clobber:

akash has constant speed through its flight.
As told by the developer, the reason behind is that if the missile is slow it will miss the target and if the missile is fast it will over shoot the missile therefore it is important that through out its fight it will have same speed so that it can take out target.
 

SPIEZ

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:clobber:



As told by the developer, the reason behind is that if the missile is slow it will miss the target and if the missile is fast it will over shoot the missile therefore it is important that through out its fight it will have same speed so that it can take out target.
then the missile is coasting and the advantage offered by the RAMJET engine is nullified.
 

Archer

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I still think it is India's attempt to copy it. They don't clone like the Chinese do, but like other nations pull the concepts.
India didn't attempt to copy the SA-6, it just found the general layout useful to implement a ramjet system and went ahead and developed a similar system. There is nothing in common between the two missiles in terms of materials and subsystems, though. Even the guidance is different, the Akash uses CG versus a SARH system on the SA-6. Where things get even more different is in the ground based system which after all, is the heart of any SAM system, where the Akash system is more akin to the layout of a high end SAM system like the S-300 with a PESA FCR . It also has a C3I system which automates the entire engagement system, end to end and also has a regiment/squadron level C3I getting inputs from a long range (150 km class) 3D radar. The entire system is highly mobile and comes in two different versions - one on trailers for the AF, the other on T-72 tanks for the Army.

Bottomline, this is clearly no SA-6 copy. Its a pretty unique system evolved to meet IA & IAF requirements framed for a missile in the 20-30km class, able to engage a wide variety of targets with high SSPK and also able to stand up to heavy opposition (strike packages with ARMs, EW etc). This is what led to this configuration.

The choice of ramjet was to give the missile an all the way thrust capability which was state of the art in the 1980's. Given only the Russians had a working ramjet SAM & which was also in Indian service, it was logical to evolve something that at least had the same overall layout, as it could be validated in windtunnel tests and would at least have similar baseline aerodynamic performance.

However, India's requirements meant everything went different after that. Akash uses CG as an ARH seeker was impractical, costly, and did not give adequate performance benefit. But the need for high ECCM capability led to the development of a PESA, with multi-target handling capability (2-3 missiles per target, upto 4 targets per radar) unlike the SA-6's which combined less capable systems on TELARs.

Similarly, the Indian requirement for the Akash to be deployed in areas where the ADGES could not support the system meant the development of an entirely new long range sensor, the 3D CAR. The automation meant that the system could be "fought" in almost all conditions without human intervention losing out to complex battle scenarios. The Akash system as far back as the late 90's began working on an all digital display system with extensive signal processing as versus even the S-300 exports at the time, which had the conventional phosphor screens.

The point is the Akash is uniquely configured to Indian service requirements of the IAF and Army, which were developed with an eye towards the future in mind. There is no other system out there with the same exact configuration for the Akash to be a copy.

Similarly, the cancelled Trishul project had a missile which looked externally like the SA-8 Gecko.
But thats where the similarities ended. The missile within was entirely different. It had a dual thrust propulsion system which was fairly radical at the time, and modern by todays standards. The Indo-Israeli LRSAM/Barak-8 project for instance uses a variant of the same technology today.

So don't go by looks but look at the doctrine, and whats within & the differences become apparent. The Akash C3I system, bar the radars was used by India to develop the Brahmos system. A lot of the technology went there. That sort of stuff is not apparent at first sight. But its what differentiates the Akash from the sort of one-to-one copies the Chinese turn out.

India has taken the harder path versus the Chinese, it tries to innovate across the board and is open about taking technological assistance where it needs to. This sort of disruptive development methodology means India's task is much harder and riskier - which mean delays and all sorts of developmental challenges. But over time, this is what will also ensure Indian developers keep innovating as versus copying as the Chinese have been doing in many systems. If China were to buy the Rafale, it would rip it off, and try to make one-to-one copies even with inferior systems. India would rather evaluate the Rafale, see what technologies it likes and work with France in a joint-IP sharing mechanism to develop something more evolved for its specific needs. I think this is a better approach than just copying. This is not to say China does not innovate. That it does, but there is a significant mindset issue of just aping what the other guy does, because then it must be good. They tend to do that a lot.
 

Archer

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then the missile is coasting and the advantage offered by the RAMJET engine is nullified.
Please dont get confused in how the terms are used. Coasting is usually used for the missile when the engine has cut out & its just going ahead on the basis of the residual energy it has from the work the engine did. In the case of the Akash, the pure powered+non powered range, may indeed be greater than 25-30 km, because that is when the engine cuts out. But till 25-30 km, its fully powered. The booster takes it to ~2.5M, this would occur within the first few seconds of flight translating to several km, the sustainer then maintains the speed at 2.5M through the rest of the range (>70% based on back of the envelope estimates). The missile then uses proportional navigation algorithms to keep apace of maneuvering targets. The ability to maintain energy throughout the 25-30 km envelope is what gives the missile its high SSKP of 0.88. Basically, this is a missile which will continue following you, unlike other missiles which try to get you in the first pass, failing which, they are in the coast phase, gradually losing speed and altitude and can hence be avoided by the target. In the Akash suppose the target makes a sudden maneuver in the first few km of the chase and the missile misses, the radar can reacquire and will get the missile towards the target again as its a ramjet and still maintains energy. Of course, the ramjet cannot be throttled so missile trajectories are not as flexible as those in say a Meteor, but its still a fairly capable system.

Coming to how ramjet missiles have performed - looking at the SA-6, in the Yom Kippur war, it accounted for almost 40 kills, and in recent times, a F-16CJ over Bosnia was shot down by a SA-6. Point is the "weak point" of the SA-6 was its compromised electronics that were known to all allied forces since the Israelis captured the system.

In contrast, our Akash's have modern PESA FCRs and will be a very tough opponent for low -medium altitude targets.
 
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SPIEZ

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Don't get confused in how the terms are used. Coasting is usually used for the missile when the engine has cut out & its just going ahead on the basis of the residual energy it has from the work the engine did. In the case of the Akash, the pure powered+non powered range, may indeed be greater than 25-30 km, because that is when the engine cuts out. But till 25-30 km, its fully powered. The booster takes it to ~2.5M, this would occur within the first few seconds of flight translating to several km, the sustainer then maintains the speed at 2.5M through the rest of the range (>70% based on back of the envelope estimates). The missile then uses proportional navigation algorithms to keep apace of maneuvering targets. The ability to maintain energy throughout the 25-30 km envelope is what gives the missile its high SSKP of 0.88. Basically, this is a missile which will continue following you, unlike other missiles which try to get you in the first pass, failing which, they are in the coast phase, gradually losing speed and altitude and can hence be avoided by the target.
From what you are saying, I gather that the 25 to 30 km range will be where the missile will be really effective. So we could have used a different propulsion system, making the missile even lighter with the same energy thourghout it's light path.
 

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