India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with the Indian Air Force, has successfully test-fired Astra, an indigenously developed beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), from a Su-30 fighter jet on Wednesday.
The missile can engage targets at 90-120 km range when launched at a height of 15 km, 44 km range when launched at 8 km, and 21 km range extend when launched at sea level.
“The missile successfully engaged a moving target with high precision meeting the mission objectives. In the arrangement trials held to date, Astra has been launched in the complete Su-30 flight envelope. The flight test assumes significance as it was part of the series of final pre-induction trials,” the Indian Defense Ministry announced Wednesday.
Successful Flight Test of Astra BVR Air-to-Air
— Defence Spokesperson (@SpokespersonMoD) September 26, 2018
The Indian Defense Ministry claimed that Astra is the best in its class of weapon systems and has undergone more than twenty developmental trials.
Defense Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman lauded the efforts and said India has attained a high level of capability in the indigenous design and development of advanced weapon systems.
A year ago, the DRDO had replaced the Russian Agat 9B1103M active radar seeker used on the Astra with an Indian Ku-band seeker developed by the DRDO’s Research Center Imarat (RCI) in Hyderabad.
India’s state-owned Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) has already made arrangement to supply bulk orders ahead of schedule from its special production facility set up in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Currently, an order for 50 missiles is currently being serviced. A follow-up production order is planned to arm IAF Mirage-2000H and MiG-29 fighter aircraft — and possibly the locally developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft — supplementing the IAF’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Derby BVRAAM system. The DRDO says it is almost certain to deliver the missile by December this year so that the missile will go for bulk production at the BDL facility.
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