CAG: Akash missiles still not deployed in Northeast
In 2010, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the induction of six squadrons of the indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile systems for the Indian Air Force to deter China along the Northeast. Seven years later, India is yet to deploy the proposed squadrons, revealing an alarming operational gap, according to the latest CAG report tabled in Parliament. The revelation comes amid the Sikkim standoff.
Six Akash squadrons ordered for over Rs. 3600 crore
The CAG report said the six missile squadrons were ordered for Rs. 3619 crore but still haven't been operationally deployed. "The main reason was the delay in execution of civil works (missile storage facilities, workshops and ramp structures) at the sites," the CAG said. The report doesn't explicitly mention the Akash missiles but it is clear to experts which missile is being referred to.
CAG reveals gaping holes in Akash missiles' quality
In 2014, six out of 20 missiles tested by the IAF had failed with two failing to take off from their nozzles due to malfunctioning booster nozzles. Preliminary post-launch analysis revealed "the missiles fell short of the target, had lower than the required velocity, and there was also malfunctioning of critical units" "These deficiencies posed an operational risk during hostilities," the CAG said.
Akash missiles meant to protect Indian installations from enemy aircraft
The 25km-range missiles are meant to protect critical installations from enemy helicopters, fighter jets and drones. The missiles are designed by the DRDO and manufactured by defense PSUs like Bharat Electronics. The IAF has ordered eight more Akash squadrons worth Rs. 6,200 crore. The army is inducting two Akash regiments worth Rs. 14,180 crore and is slated to receive two more.
India needs Akash missile to protect growing northeast military presence
The deployment of Akash missiles in the Northeast are critical to protect Indian military against potential Chinese hostility. India is stepping up its military presence in the region, deploying additional frontline Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets, T-72 tanks, drones and helicopters. The Indian Army is also raising two new high-altitude infantry divisions, accompanied by artillery, air defence and engineer brigades having a total of 90,274 soldiers.