India’s indigenously developed air-to-air missile Astra

India’s indigenously developed air-to-air missile Astra

Question - Many leading nations are acquiring sophisticated indigenous missiles for countering threats to national security. Discuss India’s indigenously developed air-to-air missile Astra.

Astra is an indigenously developed air-to-air missile which was successfully launched recently.

• The missile has been tested to provide manoeuvring capability against a simulated target and validate numerous subsystems

• This is an indigenously developed BVR/Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile

• It was successfully launched from a Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft for hitting a simulated target at Chandipur’s Integrated Test Range in Odisha

• During the launch, all subsystems such as propulsion, navigation and guidance and smooth separator of the missile from the aircraft were tested effectively, according to DRDO

• This is an all-weather missile which can be used for engaging and destroying enemy aircrafts at a supersonic speed (1.2 to 1.4 Mach) in two modes: head on up to 80 km and tail chase up to 20 km

• Astra is 3.8 metres tall in length making it the smallest DRDO developed missile to date

• It can be launched from different altitudes and heights

• It can reach close to 110 km when fired from a 15 km altitude; it is 44 km when launched from an altitude of 8 km an 21 km when fired from the level of the sea

• The test was conducted as part of an induction phase trial for showing the aerodynamic characteristics of the missile

• The trial showed the robustness and repeatability as well as endurance capability of Astra as a weapon system

• Next on line is the launch of Astra against a real target rather than a simulated one

Facts and Stats

• Astra has been developed to be integrated with Tejas Light Combat Aircraft

• It will soon be inducted into the Indian Air Force

• This missile has a launch weight of 154 kg and it uses solid fuel propellant and a 15 kg high explosive warhead activated by a proximity fuse

• This anti-aircraft can be fired following receipt of signal from distant targets via board manoeuvres associated with radio frequency
The previous trial was conducted from a naval range in Western sector on May 4th, 2014 and this was also successful.
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