The country’s national auditor said in a damning report that nearly a third of the home-made Akash surface-to-air missiles are untrustworthy, unusable and untested and promoting an operational risk amid threats. This disclosure comes after when a standoff between Indian and Chinese troops is ongoing along the border in Sikkim sector. To be situated in the powerless Siliguri corridor (also called to as the Chicken’s neck), Akash was India’s counter to any strike by Chinese Air Force Fighters. The CAG report, yet, puts an unavoidable question mark on its utility and additionally on the Make in India initiative that looks to trim the nation’s reliance on imported arms.
This is what CAG had to say:
- The missiles missed the marked target, had less than the required speed, and there are breaking down of vital units.
- Between 2013 and 2015, the missile frameworks were to be introduced at six designated sites (in the northeast). Till date, however, none of the missile frameworks have been installed.
- Out of 80 missiles got up to November 2014, 20 missiles were test terminated during April-November 2014. Six in those missiles failed the test, which means 30% of it.
- Two of the missiles, however, blundered to even take off. These inadequacies represent an operational risk amid threats.
- The life expectancy of a few missiles had been expired by March 2017.
- These missiles were purchased at a high cost, yet would remain usable for a less time than their stipulated life.
- Also, holding in common works at the sites drove the installation of the missile systems following planned time.
- The CAG was likewise not prepared to acknowledge the Indian Air Force’s disagreement that the postponement in the commissioning of missile framework was just not owing to non-accessibility of infrastructure.
The report is a big punch to the missile system and comes after the Army recently indicated enthusiasm for going for the Israeli speedy response surface-to-air missiles (QR-SAMs) to go up against on enemy fighters, helicopters, and drones instead of Akash. On the other hand, the Defence Ministry sources said that the Army has already cleared that it doesn’t require any more Akash regiments following it gets the initial two ordered before for Rs 14, 180 crores, including six firing batteries and hundreds of missiles each. The Army holds Akash territory defence missile systems do not meet its operational prerequisites for protecting its strike corps against adversary air attacks in frontward areas.