The Defence Research and Development Organization on Tuesday successfully test-fired Astra, the air-to-air missile with a range of over 70 km. The missile was test fired from a Sukhoi-30MKI combat aircraft that took off from an air base in West Bengal. The Government of India had sanctioned the Astra project in March 2004 with a budget of Rs 995 crore.
The Hyderabad-based Defence Research and Development Laboratory, a Missile System laboratory under the DRDO was designated as the design and development (D&D) agency for the Astra missile. The first Astra missile was launched from the Su-30MKI in May 2014 and so far, 27 missiles have been test fired to ascertain and validate its performance.
The Astra could be launched either by the mother aircraft or fired in buddy mode. The extensive and rigorous trials have successfully validated the Astra missile’s warhead capability, its maximum launch ranges against both, head-on and manoeuvring targets, its long-range target engagement capability, clear missile-separation at supersonic speeds, launch under high ‘g’ forces and multiple missile launches at multiple targets, the DRDO said.
Watch Video Below:
Last year in September, Astra was successfully test-fired by the Indian Air Force from Su-30 aircraft from Air Force Station in Kalaikunda. The missile successfully engaged a manoeuvring target with high precision meeting the mission objectives.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has also played a role in modifying the aircraft for weapon integration, the defence sources said adding more than 50 public and private industries have contributed in building the 'Astra' weapon system.