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DRDO proposes ‘Aakash’ guard to Barack Obama

On the eve of Republic Day celebrations, when the US President Barack Obama will be present on the podium on Raj Path, along with President Pranab Mukherjee as he takes the salute of the various marching contingents – the skies of the area will be continuously scoured for any aerial threats.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with his own high value security cover is also needed to be safe from any attempt on his person. The radars of the Army Air Defence (AAD) and that of the Air Force will remain on a hawkeyed watch coupled with their instantly triggerable surface to air missiles (SAM).

Even as the old Pechoras and OSA do their task, the newly minted, home grown Aakash medium range SAM will be bolstering considerably the effectiveness of the air defence.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources say that they have moved a proposal to the government on building Mark II of the Aakash missiles that will be upgraded by a longer range and sophisticated seeker. Currently, the indigenously built SAM has a radio frequency proximity fuse which gets triggered as it is pointedly targeted at a flying object at a range of about 25 kms. But the new plan includes increasing the range from that level to a point below the level of the recent Indo-Israeli Long Range SAM.

While the DRDO sources were chary about discussing the details of the new proposed Aakash Mark II as “govt’s clearance is awaited,” but they say that the seeker will be based on infra-red imaging or microwave based. This will not only increase the SAMs lethality but it will also help the troops manning these batteries to ‘fire and forget’ kind of a mode. The IIR seeker will pick up the heat signature of the aerial threat and target it while the microwave based one will lock on the offending object through the radar signatures of the object.

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