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Indian Army’s Air Defence College is ushering in a new era of technologically-advanced equipment. Six months down the line, the Army Air Defence College, Gopalpur based out of Odisha will fire India’s indigenous Surface-to-Air missile, ‘Akash’ from its unique 75-km long seaward facing firing range.

Sources in the military institution that boasts of the state-of-the-art training facilities say that a new facility will be made to fire the Akash missile. 

“Firstly, we have the Akash missile at the moment, we have test fired it once earlier, new Medium Range Surface-to-air-missiles (MRSAM) are arriving, we have got the government's nod. We have entered into a contract with Israel for an MRSAM. I met the DRDO director and he has informed me of the same. We are going to built a new facility for MRSAM, our procedure for procuring new shoulder firing guns have also moved forward. In the next 6 months, we will start getting the new models,” said Lt. Gen AP Singh, commandant, Army Air Defence College, Gopalpur.

Over the years the inventory comprising guns and missiles of the Army Air Defence College became the bone of contention. Most guns, missile system that include ZSU-23-4B "Shilka", Tunguska Gun Missile System, L/70 Gun Systems, Zu 23 mm gun systems, 9K33 Osa have raised a lot of eyebrows and experts have highlighted a need for these to be phased out.

Today, the air power no longer connotes manned combat aircraft alone, but is shifting towards the realm of unmanned platforms. The present day threats like attack helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise and ballistic missiles, electronic warfare, anti-radiation missiles, smart, intelligent and precision guided munitions; and in times to come space-based weapon platforms, will dominate the battlefield. Hence, a need for up gradation of guns and missiles in needed, highlight experts. 

Lt. Gen AP Singh, commandant, Army Air Defence College, Gopalpur adds, “The air-borne threats have changed over the years. The guns and missiles that had arrived 25-30 years ago, need up gradation. Modernization is the need of the hour.” Besides the Akash missile, L/70 guns have been ungraded too at this training facility. “New MRSAM will arrive soon after India entered into a joint venture with Israel. A new state-of the art facility will be built at this Army AD College in Gopalpur. There is a need for new guns and we have placed our ‘request for information’ to procure new guns.


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