India recently deployed Akash Missiles or Akash Air Defence System in Ladakh region along the India-China border. Akash is an advanced, quick-reaction, surface-to-air missiles with a range of 30 km.
The deployment of Akash Air Defence System comes after China reportedly increased its fighter jets and helicopter activities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), de facto border of India and China.
“As part of the ongoing build-up in the sector, the air defence systems of both Indian Army and the Indian Air Force have been deployed in the sector to prevent any misadventure by the Chinese Air Force fighter jets or the People’s Liberation Army choppers there,” confirmed government sources to an Indian news agency.
Akash is India’s first indigenously developed medium-range surface to air missile that can engage multiple targets from various directions. The all-weather missile can engage targets at a speed 2.5 times more than the speed of sound and can detect, track and destroy targets flying at low, medium and high altitudes.
The Akash missile defence system has been designed and developed as part of India’s 30-year-old integrated guided-missile development programme (IGMDP). According to analysts, Akash missile is developed to keep fighter aircraft, helicopters and drones from attacking vital installations and is equivalent to the SPYDER (Surface-to-air PYthon and DERby) missile of Israel.
India’s Akash missile is loaded with a battery that can trail and attack numerous targets simultaneously; the missile can carry a warhead of 60 kgs and can hit the target up to 30 km. On the other hand, the SPYDER is a low-level, quick reaction missile projected to neutralise hostile boards up to 15 km away and at heights between 20 and 9,000 metres.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has reportedly installed the SPYDER Missile along with the homemade Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) with a range of 30 km as part of strategic planning for a double layer tactic to guard critical resources and locations in the country.
The Israeli Missile can provide air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas fitted on either Tatra Trucks or Scania P-series truck.
However, the Akash air defence systems can be launched from static or mobile platforms and can take multi-target and destroy directional targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and missiles launched from helicopters. The system also defends sensitive areas in all-weather circumstances against medium-range air targets being attacked from low, medium and high altitudes.
The deployment of SPYDER missile is a speculation and there is no official confirmation from the Indian government over their deployment near the India-China border.