The Indian Air Force (IAF) has completed development trials of the Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile (Astra BVR-AAM).
The development trials included a series of flight tests that were carried out by the airforce at the Integrated Test Range in the Balasore city of Odisha, India.
Flight trials involved a combination of complex tests for engagement of pilotless target in different modes of manoeuvring, off-boresight, medium and long ranges.
During the tests, the Astra BVR-AAM weapon systems were telemetered for the online performance assessment of all sub-systems, with a focus on the datalink, radio frequency seeker and proximity fuse for end-game performance.
As part of the final development trials, the missile system has been tested six times under various launch conditions and at different ranges.
The locally built missile engaged targets during all the tests and all mission objectives were effectively met.
Astra was manufactured and integrated on to the Russia-built Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet and other aircraft platforms by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, with the active participation of the IAF.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has been responsible for upgrading and modifying a number of Su-30 combat aircraft in order to support missile integration and the series of flight trials.
Currently, more than 50 private and public sector industries are involved in the development and production of different sub-systems of the Astra missile.
Developed as part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of the Indian Ministry of Defence, the Astra missile is expected to be introduced into service with the IAF next year.
The 3.8m-long weapon system features high single-shot kill probability and is capable of operating under adverse weather conditions.
With a diameter of 178mm, the missile has an overall launch weight of 160kg. The airborne launcher can be used with a wide range of fighter aircraft.