Bangalore: In a ringing endorsement for indigenously developed defence systems, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered an additional 750 Akash medium-range surface-to-air missiles (MRSAMs) from state-run defence behemoth Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) at a cost of Rs4,271.65 crore ($925 million). The missiles will equip an additional six squadrons of such surface-to-air missiles, it was announced Tuesday.
"A decision to place this fresh order with BEL was taken after the IAF expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Akash missiles that are deployed in two squadrons," defence minister AK Antony said Tuesday.
|The Akash SAM system|
The decision to procure the missiles was taken by the Defence Acquisition Council, Antony said. The order is in addition to two squadrons procured earlier, he told reporters. Each squadron comprises 125 missiles.
The IAF will deploy 125 missiles each in six squadrons as and when BEL delivers them.
"The first order for 250 missiles was placed last year on a pilot basis. The IAF has decided to deploy the weapon in more squadrons for optimal use," Antony said after inaugurating the digital flight control (DFC) computer facility at BEL here.
BEL chairman and managing director Ashwani Kumar Datt said that the first order was worth Rs1,221 crore ($264.4 million).