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10:37 AM, March 28, 2015
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The Indian army will be getting the Akash "area defence" missile systems, which have an interception range of over 25 km in all weather conditions, from next month.

"The fully-automated Akash system is designed to defend the country's vital and vulnerable areas against medium-range air targets penetrating from low, medium and high altitudes. Its kill probability is over 88% with one missile. With two missiles in ripple firing, its 98%," said a DRDO scientist was quoted as saying by Times of India on Saturday.

The 96% indigenous weapon systems can fly at supersonic speed, reaching about Mach 2.5.The Army has initially ordered two Akash regiments, with six firing batteries and hundreds of missiles each for a Rs 14,180 crore (US$2.2 billion).

"The first full regiment should be ready by June-July, with the second one following by end-2016," said defense ministry officials. Manohar Parrikar is slated to symbolically hand over the first Akash - the surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) fired from mobile launchers with powerful multi-function radars to evaluate and track threats -- to the Army in early-April, Ministry officials added.

The Akash is one of the five core missile systems of the integrated guided missile development programme launched by DRDO in 1984.

After long delays due to technical problems, the indigenous SAM - produced by defence PSUs Bharat Electronics and Bharat Dynamics is finally being inducted into the armed forces.

The missile has a launch weight of 720 kg, a diameter of 35 cm and a length of 5.78 meters.  It can reach an altitude of 18 km and can be fired from both tracked and wheeled platforms.

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