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India Tests Pre-Induction Trial of Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile Astra

CC BY-SA 2.5 / Rajan Manickavasagam, Christian Alexander Tietgen / Astra Mk-I missileAstra Mk-I missile
Astra Mk-I missile - Sputnik International
The missile features a dual pulse rocket motor, making it highly maneuverable during endgame engagement and thereby endowing the missile with a high single shot kill probability (SSKP).

New Delhi (Sputnik): India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with the Indian Air Force, has successfully test-fired Astra, an indigenously developed beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), from a Su-30 aircraft on Wednesday.

The missile can engage targets at 90-120 km range when launched at a height of 15 km, 44 km range when launched at 8 km, and 21 km range when launched at sea level.

"The missile successfully engaged a maneuvering target with high precision meeting the mission objectives. In the series of trials held to date, Astra has been launched in the complete Su-30 flight envelope. The flight test assumes significance as it was part of the series of final pre-induction trials," the Indian Defense Ministry announced Wednesday.

 Successful Flight Test of Astra BVR Air-to-Air Missile

The Indian Defense Ministry claimed that Astra is the best in its class of weapon systems and has undergone more than twenty developmental trials.

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Defense Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman lauded the efforts and said India has attained a high level of capability in the indigenous design and development of advanced weapon systems.

Indian anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) - Sputnik International
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Last year, the DRDO had replaced the Russian Agat 9B1103M active radar seeker used on the Astra with an Indian Ku-band seeker developed by the DRDO's Research Center Imarat (RCI) in Hyderabad.

India's state-owned Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) has already made arrangement to supply bulk orders ahead of schedule from its special production facility set up in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Currently, an order for 50 missiles is currently being serviced. A follow-up production order is planned to arm IAF Mirage-2000H and MiG-29 fighter aircraft — and possibly the locally developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft — supplementing the IAF's Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Derby BVRAAM system. The DRDO says it is almost certain to deliver the missile by December this year so that the missile will go for bulk production at the BDL facility.

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