The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAM) has been successfully test-fired from a Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft at the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur in Odisha, India.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists conducted two developmental trials on 20 May, with plans to conduct another launch today to prove the missile’s long-range capability.
During the first developmental trial, the Su-30 fighter jet launched the supersonic missile while performing a "very high-g manoeuvre".
The second trial saw the release of the missile when the fighter jet was performing a higher manoeuvre.
A DRDO missile technologist was quoted by The Hindu as saying that ‘extreme conditions were simulated for the missile’s trials.’
Manufacturing of the Astra is taken care of by DRDO, with support from various DRDO laboratories, including collaboration between the missile complex at Hyderabad, CEMILAC and DGAQA, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the IAF.
The 3.8m-long, all-aspect, all-weather missile has active radar terminal guidance, electronic counter-countermeasures features, smokeless propulsion, and a high single-shot kill probability.
The missile is equipped with a 15kg high-explosive warhead. It can engage both short-range aerial targets located at up to 20km and long-range targets at a distance of up to 80km, using alternative propulsion modes.
In March, the BVRAM missile was test-launched as a part of an induction phase trial to demonstrate the aerodynamic characteristics of the missile.
Astra is set to undergo additional tests, including pre-induction trials, and will be inducted in the IAF by 2016.