Astra Final Trials Over; Minister Hails Industries
C Several defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and more than 50 public and private industries have contributed in developing the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) — Astra — which underwent a series of successful trials for four days over the Bay of Bengal recently, marking the completion of its development phase.
“The final development flight trials of Astra BVRAAM were successfully conducted over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha. A total of seven trials were conducted against pilotless target aircraft successfully,” saida release from the Defence Ministry.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Air Force (IAF) , DPSUs and public and private industries for the successful trials of the missile.
The successful trial of BVRAAM paves way for its induction into the IAF. The missile system has been developed by DRDO in cooperation with the IAF.
Astra is designed to be capable of engaging targets at varying range and altitudes allowing for engagement of both short-range targets (up to 20 km) and long-range targets (up to 80–110 km) using alternative propulsion modes. Except for a failure in one test, the missile has successfully completed all its tests.The Indian Air Force (IAF) will induct Astra missiles soon. This would be the IAF’s first indigenous air-to-air Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missile, a practical alternative to expensive Russian, French and Israeli missiles. According to the Defence Ministry, the successful trials marked completion of the development phase of the weapon system “successfully”.
G Satheesh Reddy, Director General of DRDO’s Missiles and Strategic Systems, said the technologies developed under the programme will be the building blocks for development of more variants of air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.
The flight trials included multiple launches of the missile to engage multiple targets including at “very long” range and medium range. All the sub-systems performed accurately, meeting all the mission parameters and objectives. Two missiles were also launched in the combat configuration with warhead, said the Defence Ministry.
The weight of Astra missile is 154 kg and length 3,570 mm. With a diameter of 178 mm, the missile carries an HE fragmentation directional warhead of 15 kg. Astra, having ‘Radar proximity fuse’ as detonation mechanism, has a solid fuel rocket engine. The wingspan is 254 mm and operational range 80-110 km in head on chase and 20 km in tail chase. Astra’s speed is Mach 4.5+ and flight ceiling 66,000 feet. The missile is expected to be launched from Su-30MKI, HAL Tejas, Dassault Rafale, HAL AMCA, Sukhoi/HAL FGFA, Mirage 2000 and MiG-29UPG over a
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