Aakash is an indigenous mid range SURFACE TO AIR MISSILE (SAM) which is developed by DRDO. It is an air defence system which has capability to neutralise air threats like fighter aircrafts , cruise missiles , air to surface missiles and also ballistic missiles .
Two different versions of aakash missile system are developed for airforce and army .It is not meant for naval use and cannot work from naval platform because it was never made for this purpose.
The Akash Missile Development cost of RS 1,000crore ($200 million), including the project sanction of RS 600 crore ($120 million), is 8-10 times lower than the cost of similar system developments in other countries.
Aakash missile weight (at launch) is about 720 kg and it can fly supersonic speed can can exceed mach 2 even about 2.5.It has a close proximity blast system which means it blasts when it reaches near the target and has a 55kg pre-fragmented warhead. Just as a measure of safety it also has a self destruct system in case it engages a friendly target which allows the operator to destroy the missile in case any such incidence occurs.The missile is highly manoeuvrable and can handle more than 15g turns.
An Akash battery comprises a single Rajendra 3D PESA radar system with four launchers carrying 3 missile each (12 total missiles ) and can target upto 64 aircrafts or other air threats , it can engage
12 threats .All systems of battery are interconnected by wireless and wired both ways .
The single shot kill probability of system is about 88 % which can be increased to about 98.5% with 2 missiles fired to engage 1 target.The system like ISRAELI spyder system can also be put on autonomous mode and in such scenario the threats can be assigned as per scenario and priority which means the threat level of various target can be decided and the missile will engage the threat which is most dangerous first.
Two AAKASH SAM batteries together form 1 squadron.
Although RAJENDRA 3D PESA is the most used radar system but for various conditions and for cost saving it can also be linked with various other radars.
Aakash mk2 variant has an extended range upto 35 kms.
The Aakash SAM have been inducted into army and airforce and are protecting many high value and strategic targets like airforce bases , stations etc .
In may 2016 it was reported by media that army is buying other SAM's than Aakash SAM and that it means Aakash is not good enough which is partially because
1) Army did buy some QR SAM systems
2) poor research by media geeks.
QR-SAM or quick reaction SAM are SAM's which are made such that they have response time of less than 3 to 4 sec and they engage their target . These SAM's are generally used in operating bases where large systems like Aakash (1 battery is like 5 vehicles including radar and launchers) are not feasible and they are either too large or expensive for use at such places like forward bases.
Aakash system is a good indigenous system which is capable of defending Indian airspace .Airforce demonstrated the missile at the exercise Iron Fist 2016 where it once again proved its capability and destroyed the target .