NEW DELHI, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Indian Air Force (IAF) is all set to acquire a squadron-strength of the indigenously developed Akash surface-to-air missile, local newspaper The Tribune reported on Thursday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a function on Wednesday, Chief of Air Staff Marshal Fali Homi Major said, "We will soon begin the process of inducting the Akash."
"The user trials have just concluded. We are awaiting the report on this, after which we shall initiate the process of inducting a squadron-strength of the missile," the Air Chief Marshal said. However, it was not clear how many of the missiles would eventually be inducted.
A squadron strength would mean that the IAF would deploy 16 to 18 batteries of the missile that could engage targets at a height of 25 km. The IAF completed the final user trials of the Akash earlier this month with the missile successively achieving the target on five occasions spread over 10 days.
Incidentally, Fali indicated he was not too happy with the system that had been in development for almost two decades.
He said the IAF was in the process of completing price negotiations for 80 additional Mi-17-1V medium lift helicopters of the kind it already operates, as also six C-130J Super Hercules heavy lift transport aircraft.