The Indian Air Force (IAF) has conduced a series of flight trials of Astra Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) from Sept. 26 to Oct. 03 at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore as part of final development trials of the missile.
The trials were a combination of complex tests for engagement of pilotless target in different modes of manoeuvring, off-boresight, medium- and long-ranges. The missiles were telemetered for evaluation of online performance of all sub-systems especially the datalink, RF seeker and proximity fuse for end-game performance. Astra has been tested six times under different launch conditions and ranges as part of the final development trial. The missile has engaged targets and all the mission objectives have been met.
Astra (“arrow”) is an all weather BVRAAM developed by the state-owned defence agency, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), India and is the first air-to-air missile developed by India.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Nasik has been instrumental in the modification of a number of Indian Air Force Su-30MKI air-superiority fighter aircraft for Astra weapon integration and support during trials. More than 50 private and public sector industries are involved in the development and production of different sub-systems of the missile.
Nirmala Sitharaman, the Indian Minister of Defence, congratulated DRDO, IAF, HAL and associated industries for successful trials.
The Astra missile features mid-course inertial guidance with terminal active radar homing and is designed to be capable of engaging targets at varying range and altitudes allowing for engagement of both short-range targets at a distance of 20 km and long-range targets up to a distance of 80 km.
Astra has been integrated with Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet and will be integrated with Dassault Mirage 2000 and Mikoyan MiG-29 jets in the future. Limited series production of Astra missiles began in 2017.
The missile is expected to be inducted into IAF in 2019.