IAF test fires Astra air-to-air missile from Su-30 MKI combat aircraft

23 September 2019 (Last Updated September 24th, 2019 11:28)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully five trials of the Astra Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) from Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft.

IAF test fires Astra air-to-air missile from Su-30 MKI combat aircraft
Air-to-Air missile Astra successfully user flight-tested from Su-30 MKI aircraft off the Odisha coast on 17 September 2019. Credit: Ministry of Defence.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully five trials of the Astra Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) from Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft.

The test-firing of the missile was indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and conducted from 16 to 19 September off the coast of Chandipur, Odisha.

According to the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the trials were performed as part of the user trial phase of the weapon system.

The successful completion of the trials marks the end of the user trial phase.

The IAF tested different configurations of the missile against Jet Banshee target aircraft. The trials involved a range of threat scenarios.

In a statement, the MoD said: “During the campaign, three missiles were launched in combat configuration with warhead and manoeuvring targets were neutralized to establish the end game capability of the missile.

“The trial campaign also included a direct hit of the target by the telemetered missile at maximum range. All the subsystems performed accurately meeting all the mission parameters and objectives.”

The Astra missile has a strike range of more than 100km and is equipped with advanced guidance and navigation capabilities.

The midcourse guidance and RF seeker based terminal guidance allows the missile to destroy targets with greater accuracy.

State-owned firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) contributed to the modification of the Su-30MKI aircraft to enable the integration of weapons.

The MoD added: “The present flight trials have proved the end to end performance of the missile system in various combat scenarios giving greater confidence to users.”

The successful testing of Astra sets the stage for induction of the missile system into the IAF.

The ministry stated that the missile will serve as a force multiplier for the service.

DRDO chairman Dr Satheesh Reddy said that the technologies developed as part of the project could be used in the development of future variants of air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.