NEW DELHI, March 2 (UPI) -- The first batch of Akash surface-to-air missiles, representing a significant achievement for India's indigenous weaponry program, is now operational.
The Akash missile system will be transferred to the Indian air force this week by Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony.
"Marking a major milestone in the development of indigenous technology in the defense sector, Antony will hand over the first batch of the indigenously produced Akash missiles to the (air force)," an Indian Defense Ministry representative said in a press briefing.
The weapons system is considered as the Indian "Patriot," the Press Trust of India reported Thursday.
India's Defense Research and Development Organization developed the Akash missile as part of the Indian military's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.
The Akash is an all-weather, medium-range, surface-to-air missile system and Indian military authorities expect that the missile will become the mainstay of India's air defense batteries over next few decades as increased production allows the system to be integrated into the country's military defenses.