15:03 GMT22 June 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India launched the project to develop Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Astra missiles in 2004, at a budget of Rs. 995 crores (approximately $138.4 million).

    On Tuesday, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the federal Defence Ministry successfully test-fired the missile with a range of over 70 kilometres from a Su-30MKI combat aircraft as part of user trials.

    DRDO said the test was carried out to ascertain and validate its performance. Astra can flay towards its target at a speed of over 5,555 kilometres per hour (4.5 Mach) with a 15-kilogram high-explosive pre-fragmented war-head. The first Astra missile was launched from the Su-30MKI in May 2014, and so far 27 tests have been carried out.

    “Various Radars, Electro-Optical Tracking System (EOTS) and Sensors tracked the missile and confirmed its engagement with its target,” said a press release by the Defence Ministry.

    Amid the continuing face-off with Pakistan, India has stepped up its efforts to replenish its stock of armaments. New Delhi ordered a batch of S-400 missile systems from Russia worth $5 billion. India is also in talks with Russia to launch a  local S-400 production line in the country, along the lines of BrahMos cruise missile production.

    Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will fly on India’s home-grown single-engine multirole light fighter Tejas; which will replace MiG-21 Bisons, on Thursday 19 September. Tejas jets will join the air defence system of the country alongside the French Rafale and Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs.

    Recently India successfully tested the domestically developed Man-Portable Antitank Guided Missile and conducted a test flight of the modified naval version of the light combat aircraft for ‘arrested landings’ at a shore-based facility.

    India has also received the first batch of the “building blaster” version of its Spice-2000 bombs for the Indian Air Force. New Delhi had signed a $45 million contract with Israel in June this year, to acquire more than 100 Spice-2000 missiles under an emergency procurement deal.


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