New Delhi: The Akash missile has the “potential” to become the “mainstay” of India defence in its category and Israeli missiles were not chosen over it, parliament was told on Tuesday.
To whether the army has decided to go for Israeli quick-reaction surface-to-air missile (QR-SAM) after rejecting further induction of the Akash missile, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Rajya Sabha, in a written reply, that the Akash missile system falls in the Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) category, which is separate from the OR-SAM.
He lso said that procurement of QRSAM is a separate multi-vendor case under the ‘Buy Global’ category and vendors from Israel are among the competing firms, but did not give any further details.
Media reports had said that the Army decided to go for Israeli QR-SAM to take on enemy fighters, helicopters and drones after it found that the Akash missile was not fast enough.
The minister also said that the Akash system was not considered by the Indian Navy as it is not suitable for shipborne use yet.
“The Akash System was not considered for induction by Indian Navy as its current version is not a stabilised system suitable for shipborne usage,” Parrikar said.
“As the Akash system evolves through the process of continuous development, its current short-comings are bound to be addressed and the missile has the potential to become India’s mainstay in the category of Short Range Surface to Air Missiles,” he said.
The minister also said that the production of the missile needs to be ramped up to meet the demands of the air force and army.
“It is relevant to mention here that as soon as the Akash missile was successfully tested, the air force had dropped its plan to co-develop the missile through import of technology from France,” he said.
The army signed a contract for procurement of two regiments of Akash in March, 2011.