India is set to begin flight trials of its Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) on fighter aircraft Tejas.

A source was cited by The Times of India as saying that Astra missile on Tejas has virtually completed ‘initial ground trials’.

The source was quoted as saying: “The flight trials of the indigenous missile on the indigenous fighter will begin within the next few months.”

Astra is an all-weather, day and night missile capable of flying at Mach 4.5, which is more than four times the speed of sound.

It has a strike range of approximately 100km and will replace Russian, French and Israeli BVRAAMs equipped on the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets.

In 2017, Astra completed development trials over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha, India.

The sources added that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has planned to commence testing of the Mark-2 version of Astra next year.

Simultaneously, plans for an Astra Mark-3 with a range of 350km are also underway.

In 2016, light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas reportedly conducted the first test-firing of a BVRAAM.

In a separate development, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria has flown the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) in Bengaluru.

In 2017, HAL commenced the production of a LCH for the Indian military.