India successfully test-fired Indigenous air-to-air missile “Astra”
Source :NewsBharati   Date :17-Sep-2017

New Delhi, September 17: The Defence Ministry has successfully completed the final development flight trials of 'Astra' Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM). The 4-day trials were conducted over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha.

Seven trials were held against pilotless target aircraft successfully, the Ministry stated. With this, the Astra can now be inducted into the Indian Air Force. Indian Air Force is expected to receive country’s first indigenous beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) Astra by the end of this year. 

Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), first ground test of the missile was conducted in May 2003. While it was test fired in the night and in inclement weather in June 2010, first trial from a fighter aircraft was carried out in May 2014. The missile was fired against an actual target in 2012 when it destroyed a drone.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has played a role in modifying the aircraft for weapon integration. More than 50 public and private industries have contributed in building the Astra weapon system which has a strike range of 20 km to 100 km.

The technology used in Astra is more sophisticated than Agni, as it works on a terminal active radar-seeker and an updated mid-course internal guidance system that helps the missile in locating the target. The IAF is planning to integrate the missile with the Tejas light combat aircraft.DRDO is also developing a more powerful BVRAAM Astra Mk 2 with a range of 100 km.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and DRDO Chairman and Secretary of Department of Defence (R&D) Dr S Christopher have congratulated DRDO, IAF, Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) and industries for the successful trials of Astra missile, a formidable class of weapon system.