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India has offered to sell its home-made Akash Surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems to Vietnam, thereby elbowing into the Asian arms market. Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile system developed by the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and is capable of hitting and destroying incoming aircraft, missiles, helicopters and drones up to 30 kilometers away, defenseworld.net reports.
According to the DRDO website, the missile has a multitarget engagement capability, and it uses high-energy solid propellant for the sustainer phase. The propulsion system provides higher level of energy with minimum mass, compared to conventional solid/liquid rocket motor, that has better performance with minimum weight of the missile.
It has a dual-mode guidance, initially on command mode from a phased array radar and later radar homing guidance with unique software developed for high accuracy. The phased array radar provides capability for multiple target tracking and simultaneous deployment of missiles to attack four targets at the same time, in each battery. The system is highly mobile and has gone through a number of flight trials.
The Akash missile will replace the Indian Army’s Russian-made SAM-6 Kvadrat, various media reported. However, the Akash SAM is superior the Kvadrat, which was designed three decades ago, in terms of targeting accuracy and firepower.
While Vietnam is looking for transfer of technology and joint production, India initially wants to offer missile systems off-the-shelf.
In addition to selling a number of naval vessels to Hanoi, Delhi has offered BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and Varunastra anti-submarine torpedoes to the country in the past.
India is also training Vietnamese fighter pilots and submariners as both countries operate Russian equipment.
Vietnam has in the past purchased ships from India and is averse to China, making it easier for New Delhi to sell its defence equipment there. China – a maritime rival with both India and Vietnam – has long been concerned that Indian arms sales would upset the balance of power in the South China Sea, and has already expressed in the past its reservations against India’s policies to supply weapons. In the South China Sea, China and Vietnam are locked in a conflict over maritime boundaries.